In a move that was weeks in coming, the Ravens have restructured the contract of Center Jeremy Zuttah to create additional Salary Cap space for the team. It appears that this restructure occurred sometime late last week.
Prior to Zuttah’s restructure, the Ravens had only $1.5M in available Salary Cap space and with injuries continuing to hit the team hard, the need for additional Cap space was becoming crucial.
With CB Will Davis now going onto Injured Reserve (IR) and yesterday’s signing of Shareece Wright to replace him, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Ravens do another restructure in the coming weeks.
Zuttah’s restructure is what is commonly referred to as a “simple” restructure, by which the player’s base salary (which is payable over 17 weeks during the season) is reduced down to the veteran minimum for the player’s service time in the league and the difference is paid to the player as a Signing Bonus. This amount of the bonus is then prorated over the remaining years of the contract. By doing so, the team is able to reduce the player’s present Cap number, but does then have to account for new, higher Cap charges in the future years due to the prorated amounts of the Bonus being added.
To be clear, with a simple restructure, there is not less money being paid to the player and there’s nothing particularly magnanimous about the player agreeing to a simple restructure – it’s really just a Salary Cap accounting change that allows the team to create Cap space. The player gets the same amount of money, just sooner.
The accounting of Zuttah’s restructure is a bit complicated given that it has happened in season.
Basically, Zuttah reduced the remainder (13/17ths) of his $3M base salary down to the veteran minimum of $870K. So, instead of being paid a total of $2,294,118 in weekly game checks for the rest of the season, Zuttah will now receive $665,294 over that period. In return, Zuttah receive the difference of $1,628,824 as a Signing Bonus paid immediately to him.
That Signing Bonus is then prorated over the 4 remaining years of his contract, counting $407,206 against the Cap in each year from 2015 to 2018.
Prior to the restructure, Zuttah has a Cap number of $3.7M, which consisted of his base salary of $3M and the 2015 bonus proration of $700K of the Signing Bonus he received in 2014. After the restructure his new Cap number breaks down as follows:
Teams generally would prefer not to have to do such restructures as it adds on more potential dead money if the team decides to release the player in the future. This restructure for Zuttah isn’t terribly costly to the future though as only $1,221,618 hits the future Cap, which is a pretty negligible number in the grand scheme of things.
In this case, though, the Ravens really had no choice. Short of a contract extension for Guard Marshal Yanda, any Cap relief was going to have to come via a restructure.
And, with injuries mounting, there’s no question that the Cap relief was needed.
SALARY CAP UPDATE:
With Zuttah’s restructure complete and with the flurry of other roster activity today (9 roster moves made so far today), the Ravens are approximately $2.776M under the Salary Cap. That number will go down a couple of hundred thousand dollars over the next couple of days when the terms of new CB Shareece Wright’s contract are disclosed.