Free Agency Primer

Salary Cap Free Agency Primer

Posted in Salary Cap
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With the Ravens season now having come to an end – and the sting starting to wear off – it’s time to take a look at what the 2011 Ravens will look like.  With the league’s labor issues about to take front and center, it’s unclear what next season will look like, but they will – at some point – reach a deal and the Salary Cap will likely return in some fashion similar to what it looked like when it last applied in 2009.   

So, with that in mind, a preview of the coming offseason and the work that the Ravens’ Front Office will need to do……. 

The Ravens presently have the following 29 players under contract for 2011 (with 2011 base salaries):

QBs (1):  Joe Flacco ($4.485M)

RBs (2):  Willis McGahee ($6M), Ray Rice ($555K)

WRs (4):  Anquan Boldin ($6M), Derrick Mason ($4.5M), David Reed ($405K), James Hardy ($480K)

TE (4):  Todd Heap ($4.6M), Ed Dickson ($405K), Dennis Pitta ($405K), Davon Drew ($405K)

OL (4):  Michael Oher ($630K), Matt Birk ($3M), Ben Grubbs ($795K), Ramon Harewood ($405K)

DL (6):  Kelly Gregg ($3.5M), Cory Redding ($2.5M), Terrence Cody ($405K), Brandon McKinney ($1.4M), Paul Kruger ($480K), Arthur Jones ($405K)

LBs (5):   Ray Lewis ($4.5M), Terrell Suggs ($3.4M), Jarret Johnson ($3.5M), Brendon Ayanbadejo ($775K), Jason Phillips ($480K)

CBs (2):  Domonique Foxworth ($4.4M), Lardarius Webb ($480K)

S (1):  Ed Reed ($6.5M)

Over the next week or so, the Ravens will likely re-sign most of their Practice Squad players (see list below) to 2011 contracts, which will add 6-7 players under contract.  They may also sign some other players to Future Contracts.

Assuming that the old Salary Cap rules return in substantially similar fashion, these 29 players total a Salary Cap commitment of just over $94M (the last Salary Cap, in 2009, was $136M). 

The following 8 players are Exclusive Rights Free Agents (EFAs):

LS – Morgan Cox

LB – Dannell Ellerbe

LB – Sergio Kindle

RB – Matt Lawrence

OT – Bryan Mattison

OC – Daniel Sanders

DT – Kelly Talavou

CB – Carey Williams

The Ravens can retain the rights to these players by tendering them with a contract of $330K, $405K or $480K, depending on the player’s length of service in the league.

The following 8 players are Restricted Free Agents (RFAs):

OL – Oniel Cousins (3rd)

DT – Lamar Divens (Undrafted – No Compensation)

LB – Tavares Gooden (3rd)

LB – Jameel McClain (Undrafted – No Compensation)

S – Haruki Nakamura (6th)

RB – Jalen Parmele (Undrafted – No Compensation)

WR – Marcus Smith (3rd)

S – Tom Zbikowski (3rd)

These are players whose contracts have expired and who have more than 3 years of league service time.  The team must tender the player with an RFA offer.  Once done, another team can sign the RFA to an RFA offer sheet, but the Ravens then have 7 days to match that offer sheet and retain the player under the terms of that offer sheet.  If the Ravens were to choose not to match the offer sheet, then they would receive compensation based on which level of RFA tender was made to the player.

There are 4 RFA tenders:

High Tender:  Allows the team to receive the other team’s 1st and 3rd round picks – $3,317,000

Middle Tender:  allows the team to receive the other team’s 1st round – $2,611,000

2nd Round Tender– Allows the team to the other team’s 2nd round pick – $1,835,000

Low Tender:  allows the team to receive a draft pick equal to the round in which the player was originally drafted (as noted above after each player’s name) – $1,200,000 

In the past, the Ravens have usually tendered all of their RFAs, but on occasion, the team has offered some players veteran minimum contracts in lieu of the RFA tender. 

The following 17 players are Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs) and – unless Franchised or re-signed – are allowed to sign with any team once the FA period begins (hopefully) in March:

QB – Marc Bulger

LB – Prescott Burgess

CB – Chris Carr

OG – Chris Chester

PK – Billy Cundiff

OT – Jared Gaither

LS – Kevin Houser

WR – TJ Houshmandzadeh

P- Sam Koch

S – Dawan Landry

RB – Le’Ron McClain

OT – Tony Moll

DT – Haloti Ngata

WR Donte Stallworth

CB – Fabian Washington

CB – Josh Wilson

OG – Marshall Yanda

The Ravens also have 7 Practice Squad players who are free to sign anywhere at this point:

OT – Brady Bond

QB – Hunter Cantwell

CB – Danny Gorrer

WR – Justin Harper

LB – Albert McClellan

OL – Andre Ramsey

RB – Curtis Steele

Here is a list of players who are under contract for 2011, but may (or may not) be on the bubble to return because of salary, performance or attitude issues or may retire.

Name Contract Expires After 2011 Base Salary 2011 Cap Number Pre-June 1 Release Savings 2011 Dead Money Post-June 1 Release Savings1 2011 Dead Money 2012 Dead Money
Todd Heap 2011 $4.6M $5.168M $4.6M $568K same same 0
Derrick Mason 2011 $4.5M 5.5M $4.5M 1.0M same same 0
Matt Birk 2011 $3.0M $4.0M $3.0M $1.0M same same 0
D. Foxworth 2012 $4.4M $7.4M $1.4M $6.0M $4.4M $3.0M $3.0M
Kelly Gregg 2012 $3.5M $4.289M $2.711M $1.578M $3.4M $789K $789K
Ed Reed 2012 $6.5M $7.8M 5.2M $2.6M $6.5M $1.3M $1.3M
W. McGahee 2013 $6.0M $8.5M $2.25M $6.25M $6M $2.5M $3.75M
Ray Lewis 2015 $4.5M $6.4M $1.65M2 $4.75M2 $4.5M3 $1.5M3 $3.25M3
            $4.5M4 $1.9M4 $4.85M4

The prior CBA allowed teams to designate two (2) pre-June 1 releases
for post-June 1 release treatment. Assuming this option returns in the
new CBA, teams can release the player prior to June 1, but must keep
that player on the books with the normal Salary Cap treatment (as if the
player is still on the roster) until June 1, when the team then
receives the Salary Cap savings as explained here. These numbers apply
to all true post-June 1 releases as well.

Lewis is due a $2M Option Bonus at the beginning of the 2011 league
year. The 2011 release numbers reflect that this bonus would not be paid
if he was released or retired.

3 Assumes a pre-June 1 release using one of the post-June 1 Exemptions, so the $2M Option Bonus would not have been paid.

4 These numbers reflect a release after June1, in which Lewis had already received the $2M Option Bonus.

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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. More from Brian McFarland


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