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1.  CHRIS CARR CONTRACT DETAILS:  Beyond reports that Cornerback Chris Carr signed a 2-year, $5M deal to play for the Ravens, the exact details of the structure of his contract – especially the allocation of bonus money – have never been disclosed.  According to the NFLPA website, his base salaries are $1M in 2009 and $2M in 2010.


Based on that, there’s $2M in bonus money that must be accounted for.  In the past, that amount would likely have all been paid in the form of a signing bonus that would then be prorated over the two years of the contract. However, with this season being the “last capped year” according to the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 30% limitation applies.  This limitation prohibits Carr’s “salary” (to include base salary, reporting/roster bonuses, incentives and prorate shares of option bonuses, but not signing bonuses) from increasing annually by more than 30% of the player’s first year “salary”. 


In Carr’s case, since his 2010 salary is 100% more than his 2009 salary, there must be a reporting/roster bonus to go along with a signing bonus.  As such, Carr’s Reporting/Roster bonus – since that type of bonus is not prorated and counts fully in the year that it is paid – must be at least $540K in order to satisfy the requirements of the 30% Rule, thereby making his first year “salary” (for the purposes of the 30% rule) equal $1.54M (30% of $1.54M = $460K; $1.54M + $460K = $2M).



















It is possible that the Reporting Bonus is higher, but that would have the effect of increasing his 2009 Cap charge and, given how close the Ravens are to their Salary Cap limit, it is likely that they would structure the deal to lessen his 2009 Cap number as much as possible.


2.  SAMARI ROLLE CONTRACT DETAILS:  A week ago, the Ravens were able to re-sign of Cornerback Samari Rolle to a new deal after having released him last month.  As with Chris Carr’s contract, the exact details of the structure of Rolle’s deal were never reported.  However, the 30% rule again makes it easier to determine a pretty accurate estimation of the terms of the deal.


Rolle’s deal has been reported as a 4-year, $10M deal, with $2.8M paid in 2009 (some reports have also said $3M, but that appears to be a rounded off number).  Rolle’s base salaries according to the NFLPA website are $850K (2009), $1.95M (2010), $2.4M (2011) and $2.85M (2012). 


Again, the 30% rule comes into play.  Since the increases in Rolle’s base salaries from 2010 to 2011 and 2011 to 2012 are an identical $450K, then his first year (2009) salary must be at least $1.5M (30% of $1.5M = $450K).


So, to reach $1.5M, Rolle must have a Reporting bonus of at least $650K, since his 2009 base salary is $850K.  Based on that, his Signing bonus would be $1.3M to reach total contract value of $10M and a first year payout of $2.8M.





























As an aside, prior to being released a couple of weeks ago, Rolle was set to receive $4.1M in base salary.  While Rolle is going to receive $3M in total compensation in 2009, this transaction (his release and re-signing) has basically allowed the Ravens to reduce Rolle’s 2009 Cap charge by $2.275M.




FA Tight End LJ Smith signed a one-year, $1.5M contract that included a $1M base salary and a $500K signing bonus.


The Ravens re-sign Quarterback Todd Bauman to act as their 3rd string QB.  Bauman signed a one-year minimum salary deal of $845K, but based on CBA rule known as the Minimum Salary Benefit, he will only count $460K against the Salary Cap.


4.  RAVENS SALARY CAP SPACE:  With the above transactions (and the release of Safety Darren Stone), the Ravens are now estimated to currently be a little over $1.5M under the Salary Cap.


5.  ROOKIE CONTRACTS:  While the Ravens will be adding draft picks and undrafted free agents to the roster next week, those players will have a no real present impact (beyond any minimal bonuses – $1-$5K – given to some of their UDFAs) on the team’s Salary Cap.  Once the drafted rookies sign their contracts in mid- to late July, it’s likely that only the Cap numbers of the 1st through 4th round picks will fully count against the overall Cap and only the very modest prorata shares of signing bonuses will count for later round picks.  This is because at this time of the year, only the top 51 Cap numbers and all yearly prorata bonus shares count against the team’s overall Salary Cap.  As such, it is usually the case that only the early round picks count amongst the top 51 Cap numbers on the team, so those are the only ones that fully count against the Cap.  


It should also be noted that if a rookie’s Cap number does count amongst the top 51 Cap numbers, that Cap number is replacing a now lesser Cap number that was previous amongst the top 51, so there will be a corresponding deduction as that Cap number is removed from consideration.


So, when you hear that the team has a “rookie Cap pool” of $5M (for example) and that the team must fit the 2009 Cap numbers of all of their drafted rookies under that number, that is true, but you should understand that that does not mean that the team needs $5M in overall Cap space to sign their rookies.  The rookie Cap is a “cap within a cap”, but there isn’t a dollar for dollar correlation to the overall Cap.


Once September arrives, the rookies that make the team will fully count against the Cap, but their inclusion in the overall Cap will actually end up saving the team some Cap space, since the minimum base salaries of the lower round rookies ($310K) that didn’t previously count will end up replacing a player who was making more.


6.  TERRELL SUGGS:  All appears to be very quiet on the Terrell Suggs contract extension front.  Even the loquacious Suggs has been surprisingly quiet and has made no public statements about his contract or his feelings about the franchise tag.  More than likely, the team has told him that they will get back to negotiations after the draft, as much of their time over the last 2 months has focused on free agent signings and draft preparations.


While there appears to be plenty of reason to be pessimistic about the sides being able to find the middle ground on a long term deal, the Ravens may end up being forced to work out a deal.  With only $1.5M in Cap space presently, the team will likely barely have enough Cap space to sign their draft picks and would have no Cap space to carry into the season to acquire injury replacements.  As such, the team will have to find a way to create some Cap space.  They could effectively accomplish that with an extension for Suggs.


7.  OTHER AVENUES TO CREATE CAP SPACE:  Without a new deal for Suggs, the team will either have to release or trade a player or two or renegotiate a couple of contracts (which has been made more difficult by the 30% rule) in order to create Cap space.  Since 2003, the team has stayed away from renegotiating contracts (because that practice can lead to even more bloated contracts and larger amounts of “dead money” in the future) and has only done so on a few of occasions recently (Mulitalo – 2005, Ogden -2006, Heap – 2007).


If the team were to look to release/trade a player or two, the most obvious candidates would be CB Frank Walker ($1.6M in Cap savings), TE Todd Heap ($1M) and DT Kelly Gregg ($1M).  More sizeable savings could be obtained from the release of DE Trevor Pryce ($1.75M), WR Mark Clayton ($2.070M), OT Willie Anderson ($2.944) or WR Derrick Mason ($3M), but the team would appear to have no viable replacements for any of those players.


Walker’s roster spot would appear to be the most endangered.  With the re-signing of Samari Rolle, Walker has at least 3 CB ahead of him on the depth chart – Domonique Foxworth, Fabian Washington and Rolle – and an argument could also be made for Chris Carr being ahead of him as well.  If the Ravens were to draft a CB within the first 3 rounds, it’s very possible that the team could decide that Walker’s $1.6M in base salary is too much to pay a CB, who is at best 4th on the depth chart, and perhaps as low as 6th.


Heap’s situation is also interesting, given the signing of LJ Smith, a player with very similar attributes, but who is even less accomplished as a blocker.  It is very conceivable that if TE Brandon Pettigrew were to fall to the Ravens’ pick at #26, the Ravens could elect to trade or release Heap and go with a TE corps of Smith, Pettigrew and Quinn Sypniewski.


8.  ANQUAN BOLDIN:  Rumors are flying regarding the prospects of the Ravens trading for Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin.  That Boldin wants out of Arizona is a well know fact, but the Cardinals for the first time this week acknowledged that they are willing to move Boldin for the right deal – reportedly at least 1st and 3rd round picks.  Whether the Ravens are willing to meet that price remains to be seen, but local reports have indicated that the Ravens are at least considering making a play for Boldin.  Various national media sources have called the Ravens anything from the darkhorse to the favorite to land Boldin.


Of course, agreeing to trade compensation is only one half of the equation since Boldin wants a new contract.  Actually, considering that Boldin is represented by super-agent, Drew Rosenhaus, reaching trade terms with Arizona may be more like only 10% of the battle.


Boldin is likely to want a contract averaging somewhere in the $8-10M range.  That is a sizeable chunk of change for a Wide Receiver who will be 29 this year and has always played in a pass happy offense.  While no one will question Boldin’s value, it remains to be seen whether the Ravens see his value to be great enough to trade multiple draft picks and commit that much in salary to him.


If they do, getting Suggs re-signed would pretty much be an immediate necessity and the Front Office will need to pursue some of the other avenues mentioned above in order to create the necessary Cap space to accommodate a new deal for Boldin.


Given that the team apparently is considering making a move to acquire Boldin, it would appear that they do have a plan in place to fit him into their Cap.




(Link to Updated Salary Cap Spreadsheet)

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Brian McFarland

About Brian McFarland

Known on Ravens Message Boards as “B-more Ravor”, Brian is a life-long Baltimorean and an avid fan of the Ravens and all Baltimore sports.  A PSL holder since 1998, Brian has garnered a reputation as a cap-guru because of his strange (actually warped) desire to wade through the intricacies of the NFL’s salary cap and actually make sense of it for those of us who view it as inviting as IRS Tax Code. 
Brian, who hails from Catonsville, MD and still resides there, is married and has two children.

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