Ravens in Good 2020 Cap Shape, But…

Salary Cap Ravens in Good 2020 Cap Shape, But…

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Not as great as many think. 

With many NFL training camps opening this week, the 2019 NFL season is about to be upon us. However, before we fully focus on 2019, I’d like to spend a little time on the Ravens’ 2020 Salary Cap and revisit a topic of discussion from this past March.

In March, as the annual Salary Cap cloud was finally starting to lift off of the Ravens, many on Twitter and sports-talk radio were talking about how the Ravens were going to have over $100-120M in Salary Cap space in 2020. While that was technically true at the time, I tried to caution that that was a very incomplete representation of what the Ravens’ Cap would look like going into 2020 and that the Ravens were going to have nowhere near $100M heading into the 2020 offseason. I suggested that we should wait until after free agency and the draft before make any broad pronouncements about the Ravens Cap.


The main reason for those words of caution was that the over $100M in Cap space (assuming a $200M Salary Cap) was based on the Ravens only having 27 players under contract for 2020. That’s a far cry from filling the Rule of 51 requirements of the offseason Salary Cap. That number was also before the signings and re-signings of free agency and before the draft and did not include the anticipated exercise of OT Ronnie Stanley’s 5th Year Option, a decision that wasn’t due until early May.

And, as expected, the Ravens’ 2020 Cap space has dropped since then – from well over $100M to the present amount of $52.479M.

So, what caused the Ravens’ Cap space to drop by over $50M?

First, the Ravens re-signed TE Nick Boyle ($6.8M), a pending 2019 free agent, and then signed pending 2020 free agents, G Marshal Yanda ($11M) and PK Justin Tucker ($5.1M), to contract extensions. After that, free agency hit and the Ravens’ signed S Earl Thomas ($15M) to a huge free agent deal and then added RB Mark Ingram ($5.3M) and DB/ST Justin Bethel ($2M). Then, came the draft, which added eight more players unto the 2020 Cap. Finally, the Ravens did indeed pick up Stanley’s 5th year option, which added $12.866M unto the Cap.

So, as of now, the Ravens sit with $52.479M in Cap space for 2020, which, of course, isn’t anything to sneeze at, but is a far cry from over $100M. For full breakdown, see 2020 tab on Salary Cap spreadsheet.

That amount, though, is going to see more adjustments between now and next March. The team’s Cap space will be increased by any amount of excess 2019 Cap space that the Ravens are able to carry over into 2020, but will be reduced when the Ravens offer tenders to next year’s classes of RFAs and ERFAs.

Keep in mind also that the Ravens have several pending free agents who will likely be very costly to re-sign – Matthew Judon, Patrick Onwuasor, Willie Henry, Willie Snead IV, and Michael Pierce. Re-signing any of those players before March, will further eat into the team’s Cap space. But, for the first time in many years, the Ravens will be in position to re-sign those guys before they become free agents and/or be able to compete to re-sign free agents even after they’ve reached the open market.

Now, don’t get me wrong, $50M in Cap space sounds pretty awesome, especially given how tight they’ve been against the Cap over the last 6-7 years. But, while it sounded nice, it was never going to be anywhere near $100-120M, given that that number only comprised the 27 players that were then under contract for 2020.

Either way, though, come next spring, it’s going to be nice to talk about the Ravens having ample Cap space to do what they want to do, as opposed to talking about who they’re not going to be able to offer (not that they’re going to start overpaying) and who they might need to cut to create needed Cap space.

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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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