Ravens maneuvering under the cap

Street Talk Ravens maneuvering under the cap

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OWINGS MILLS — By restructuring existing contracts, terminating a few veterans’ employment and exercising frugal fiscal judgment on free-agent spending, the Baltimore Ravens are an estimated $4.34 million under the NFL salary cap.

Restructuring deals for offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, tight end Todd Heap and cornerback Samari Rolle created a total of $8.7 million in salary-cap space.

Cutting center Mike Flynn and running back Mike Anderson saved the team another $3.3 million against the NFL cap limit of $116 million.

Those transactions allowed the Ravens to afford linebacker Terrell Suggs’ $8.065 million franchise tag, offensive guard Jason Brown’s $1.4 million second-round restricted tender, $927,000 low restricted tenders for fullback Justin Green and long snapper Matt Katula as well as free-agent deals for special-teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo, cornerback Frank Walker and linebacker Nick Greisen.

Ayanbadejo signed a four-year, $4.9 million contract that included a $1.9 million signing bonus that makes him one of the highest-paid special-teams players in the league. He has a $1.09 million cap figure for 2008.

Walker signed a two-year, $3.5 million deal that included a $1.25 million signing bonus for a $1.25 cap figure.

And Greisen received a three-year, $4 million contract that included a $1 million signing bonus.

A few additional details have emerged about some of the restructured contracts, including Rolle being paid a $500,000 roster bonus as he agreed to reduce his base salary from $3.9 million to $1.4 million for next season.

Although Rolle said that he can still earn his original salary through playing-time incentives, it doesn’t appear that any likely to be earned or not likely to be earned incentives were added to a current deal that runs for three more seasons and includes $4.1 million base salaries in 2009 and 2010.

The Ravens exercised a 2009 option bonus one year early on Pro Bowl running back Willis McGahee’s seven-year, $40.12 million contract.

The 18 highest cap figures on the roster for the 2008 fiscal year are: 1. cornerback Chris McAlister ($10.9 million); 2. middle linebacker Ray Lewis ($9.428 million); 3. Suggs ($8.065 million; 4. Ogden ($6.51 million); 5. quarterback Steve McNair ($6.45 million); 6. linebacker Bart Scott ($5.56 million) 7. defensive end Trevor Pryce ($5.25 million); 8. wide receiver Derrick Mason ($4.4 million); 9. Rolle ($4.1 million); 10. nose guard Kelly Gregg ($4.06 million); 11. Heap ($3.49 million); 12. safety Ed Reed ($3.405 million) 13. linebacker Jarrett Johnson ($3.33 million); 14. quarterback Kyle Boller ($3.25 million); 15. McGahee ($3.1 million); 16. defensive tackle Justin Bannan ($2.25 million); 17. defensive tackle Haloti Ngata ($1.978 million) and 18. wide receiver Mark Clayton ($1.915 million).

Compared to their NFL colleagues, the Ravens don’t have much "dead money" counting against this year’s cap with a total of $3.5 million from former offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo ($1.7 million); Anderson ($1 million) and Flynn ($800,000).

NOTES: The Ravens joined the majority of the NFL in attending Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan’s Pro Day workout Tuesday with Baltimore sending director of college scouting Eric DeCosta, director of pro personnel George Kokinis and assistant offensive line coach Andy Moeller. 

The Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons and the Kansas City Chiefs, three teams drafting ahead of the Ravens’ eighth overall pick who could be interested in picking Ryan, were also there. The Chiefs’ contingent was headlined by head coach Herm Edwards and general manager Carl Peterson. 

Ryan reportedly completed 48 of 52 passes with three dropped and one overthrown. He didn’t run, standing on his times from the NFL scouting combine.

Edwards told reporters that Ryan appeared a bit nervous.

"I thought he pressed a couple times, trying to throw the ball a little too hard," Edwards said. "That’s generally what happens with quarterbacks, when you get the media there. It used to be 10-15 years ago, the workouts, five people were there. Now, depending who you are, what school you’re at, and where people slate you being drafted, it becomes this.

Which is kind of good, because it puts a lot of pressure on the kids, and the game everyone plays, there is going to be pressure on them.

"You look at that, and also understand that they’re going to press some. He pressed some throws, but the thing this guy has is his ability to win. That’s the thing you like about quarterbacks — some guys win, some guys don’t. You can look at all the stats, arm strength, you can look at all the different things, but at the end, can he win games? This guy has done that."

Like many teams, Baltimore also was scouting offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus.

The Ravens re-signed defensive tackle Amon Gordon, an exclusive-rights free agent that didn’t receive a tender offer from the team prior to the launch of the free agent signing period. …

No arbitration hearing date has been set for Suggs’ grievance against the Ravens over whether he should be classified as a defensive end or a linebacker, a dispute where $814,000 is at stake.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson


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