Ravens salary cap breakdown/predictions
Free agency looms less than three days away. Joe Flacco has his new contract which makes the salary cap picture a lot clearer. Now it’s time for other pieces to fall into place. Who will be wearing purple and black next year, and who will become a cap casualty. So let us take a look at the numbers.
We know that the 2013 salary cap is going to be $123 million. The rest of this is simply an estimation based on the numbers provided by Spotrac.com, and the understanding of the rules pertaining to NFL salaries as best as I could comprehend them. Also some rumors on which way the team will head regarding certain players.
As of this morning, including the release of Bobbie Williiams, the Ravens salary cap number is $110,395,763, or $12,604,237 under the $123 million cap.
Let’s take a look first at the restricted free agents. RFAs can receive tenders of three different values. There is the first-round tender worth $2.879 million, a second-round tender worth $2.023 million, and the original round tender or a right of first refusal tender (doesn’t come with a compensatory draft pick) both worth $1.323 million. The Ravens have until free agency begins at 4 p.m. March 12 to assign these tenders, or other teams can put in an offer sheet which the Ravens would have to match.
The top three RFAs are Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson and Arthur Jones. According to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun, Pitta is expected to receive a second round tender. “The Ravens don’t want to risk losing him.” Ed Dickson is expected to get an original round tender. They consider him a “valuable blocker.” Arthur Jones is also rumored to receive a second round tender according to Aaron Wilson, and Jamison Hensley of ESPN, formerly of The Sun.
Pitta = $2.023 million, Dickson = $1.323 million, Jones = $2.023 million. All together = $5,369,000.
David Reed, Ramon Harewood and Morgan Cox are the other RFAs. I can’t believe David Reed even made the team after his 2011 season that left a lot to be desired. He’s nothing more than a special teamer and not worth $1.323 million. Harewood has spent the last two seasons on IR . Morgan Cox, while he’s as reliable a long snapper as they come, is a long snapper worth $1.323 million? I don’t think so. If anything, they could re-sign these guys on the cheaper end.
D. Reed = $630,000 (min. salary/3years of service), Harewood = $490,000 (min. salary because of 2 years on IR), Cox = $630,000 (min. salary/3 years of service). All together = $1,750,000.
If the Ravens tender or re-sign all six RFAs, you’re looking at $7,119,000 more against the cap.
So the Ravens would then have just $5,485,237 to work with and we haven’t even mentioned Dannell Ellerbe, Ed Reed, Bryant McKinnie, or the draft picks yet.
Let’s skip un-restricted free agents for a minute and talk draft picks, I could see a situation where the Ravens once again trade out of the first round, even if it only moves them back a few slots. If they can do that, they will likely pay their first pick the minimum rookie base salary of $405,000 with a somewhere in the neighborhood of a $2.4 million dollar signing bonus, spread out over, call it four years at $600,000 per year. Courtney Upshaw got minimum base salary last year, and a $2.292 million signing bonus, for $574,000 per year against the cap. This year’s first pick, depending on draft position, would cost $1,005,000 or more.
Kelechi Osemele, a 60th overall pick, also received a minimum base salary, with an $873,360 signing bonus. Spread over four years, its $218,340 against the cap. This year’s second pick, if it is the slotted 62nd overall pick, could cost at least $625,000 against the cap, given a $220,000 signing bonus cap hit.
The third round pick will cost around $535,000, fourth round about $480,000, fifth is looking at $440,000, sixth for $430,000, seventh for $415,000.
Ballpark, seven of your draft picks, because we haven’t gotten into compensatory picks, are going to run you an estimated $3.930 million.
So $5,485,237 left after the RFAs get done. Minus the $3.93 million on the low end you could spend on draft picks. There is now $1,555,237 left in cap space. Once again, still haven’t mentioned Ellerbe, McKinney, Ed Reed.
Needless to say, cuts will be and have to be made. Large cuts most likely.
So who has got to go? Vonta Leach. $3 million base salary, $1.333 million in dead money. It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that he’ll be cut, Saving the team $3 million.
Hate to say it, but Corey Graham. $2.05 million base, $600,000 dead money. Jimmy Smith is going to have to step up. Cutting Smith saves the team nothing with his dead money number. You would save $1,053,336 in base salary, but $3,016,682 in dead money would still go against the cap. So the Ravens would be paying $1,963,346 for a player not even on the roster. (Corey Graham might be that guy like Jarrett Johnson that no one wants them to cut, they just might have to because the money is right, saving $2.05 million).
Terrence Cody is in the same boat as Jimmy Smith. Cutting him saves $630,000, but his $754,500 dead money still costs them $124,500 against the cap for a player not on the roster.
Jameel McClain is a possibility. $3 million in base salary, and $2.4 million in dead money. With $1.2 million already accounted for in the cap, the other $1.2 million in dead money would equal a savings of $1.8 million. His status is uncertain, but there isn’t much depth at middle linebacker. Cutting McClain would mean you had better get a deal done with Ellerbe, because Ayanbedejo, Bynes, and a rookie from the draft won’t cut it.
For sake of argument, let’s keep it at that. Cutting Leach, Graham, and McClain adds $6,850,000 of cap space, giving them $8,405,237 to work with.
Let’s get back to the UFAs now. I’d like to take a second to thank Mackus, a frequent and knowledgeable message board poster here at BSL, who did an excellent job breaking down some contract possibilities for the Ravens pertaining to Ellerebe, McKinnie and Ed Reed. I agree with these numbers he came up with as a reasonable expectation of what it will cost to retain these three.
Priority one is unanimously, Dannell Ellerbe. Estimate a five-year deal worth $30 million, and a $12 million signing bonus. His salaries could be $1 million this year, then $3 million in years two and three, then $5 million and $6 million. Ellerbe’s 2013 cap hit would be $3.4 million.
That leaves the Ravens with $5,005,237 left to play with. Before we talk Reed and McKinnie, we’re going to have to restructure some things.
Anquan Boldin, come on down. This year he stands to make $6 million in base salary with a $1,531,250 of his bonus money against the cap, a total cap hit of $7,531,250. If you give Boldin a three year extension worth $18 million including $9 million guaranteed (based on Reggie Wayne’s 3/$17.5 mil and $7.5 mil guaranteed), give him a base salary this year of $1 million and $3 million guaranteed, than Boldin gets an extra $9 million in his pocket up front, and the team saves $3,531,250. Win-win situation.
Jacoby Jones. You might say he is worthy of a nice bonus considering he is a deep threat and Pro Bowl kick returner. I would say a three year extension of $12 million, $4 million guaranteed, up from the $1.8 million bonus he got last year. Stagger it $1 million in 2013, and $3.5 million the next two. That’s a $2,333,333 cap hit, rather than $4.9 million. Savings of $2,566,667.
The last guy I would restructure is punter, Sam Koch. $2.5 million against the cap seem to be quite a lot for a punter, no? It’s not the highest, but he’s in the top five. You could simply give him a Five year extension at $15 million, $4 million guaranteed. For 2013 pay him the base minimum for seven years of service time, $840,000, plus the $800,000 guaranteed money, Koch now has a cap figure of $1.64 million, saving the team another $860,000.
Now the Ravens have Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones for Joe Flacco to throw to through 2015. Dannell Ellerbe as the starting MLB in 2013 and beyond. All of the RFAs are signed. Draft pick money is set aside, and they now have $11,963,154 in cap space. Now we can seriously talk about keeping Joe Flacco’s blind side protected, and helping Ed Reed to retire in a Baltimore uniform.
Bryant McKinnie. You could offer him on the lower end a two-year deal worth $10 million, $4 million guaranteed. He’s such a wild card because you don’t know which McKinnie will show up to camp. Out of shape, or the game changer he was in the playoffs. At $2 million base in 2013, he would cost $4 million against the cap. Relatively cheap to help keep Joe Flacco off his back if you ask me.
So with $7,963,154 left, it’s time to put in that call to Ed Reed. Simply two years, $12 million, $6 million guaranteed. $1 million this year gives him a $4 million cap number. If he retires, you’re not on the hook for the other $5 million, just the $3 million left over as dead money from the signing bonus.
That gives you a grand total of $3,963,154 leftover for a free agent, to go toward the four extra draft picks they will have this year, or to rollover into the 2014 cap.
We’ll see how this all plays out over the weekend and into next week. No RFA tenders have been assigned. Also Dannell Ellerbe’s agent has said that they wish to speak with all 32 teams before making a decision. Could get interesting.
UPDATE: 3/9 – 5:30 pm. If Anquan Boldin gets cut, like is rumored to happen, it saves the Ravens $6 million dollars putting them $18,604,237 under the cap.
$18,604,237 – est. $7,119,000 (RFAs) – est. $3,930,000 (draft picks) = $7,555,237 estimated cap space remaining.
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected]