By and large, the Baltimore Ravens’ offseason so far has largely been hailed as a convincing success. They were able to dump a substantial amount of cap space by releasing former starters or starters who became irrelevant such as Elvis Dumervil and Lardarius Webb and were able to use that money to bring in Tony Jefferson and Danny Woodhead so far.
But the big-money acquisition was the retention of nose tackle Brandon Williams, who was inked to a deal more massive than he is, reportedly agreeing to terms on a five-year contract that comfortably surpassed the previous high for a player of a similar position. The end result was $52.5 million with more than half of it guaranteed.
This has largely been hailed as a success for the Ravens, as many regard Williams as the best at his position in the game, even coming off a season in which he was less dominant than the previous season. Not everybody was swooning over the annual cap magic of Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome, however, and Pro Football Focus was among them.
The sticking point that Sam Monson simply couldn’t get over about the deal is the fact that eclipsed the one that was signed just last season by Damon Harrison, the former Jets nose tackle who is the only other player in the league who has been viably in the discussion with Williams as the best at his position, though he signed to play in a 4-3 front.
Even without the accolades of Pro Bowls and All-Pros, Harrison was still extremely well-regarded around the league. The Giants handed him a fat contract of five years for $46.25 million, which came with $24 million guaranteed. Harrison’s deal, then, works out to $9.25 million per year, while Williams’ eclipses it at $10.5 million per year.
But what if we consider the contract relative to the team’s total cap figure? When Harrison was signed by the Giants last season, the cap hit for teams around the league prior to individual adjustments came in at roughly $155 million.
With that figure, Harrison’s per-year cap hit of $9.25 million would have represented just under six percent of the total cap figure. This year’s salary cap came out at roughly $167 million. With Williams’ $10.5 million per-year cap hit, his contract for this season represents about 6.3 percent of the total cap value.
Williams’ overall per-year contract value may come in at around an eighth more per season as the contract that Harrison signed the year prior, but the salary cap also expanded by about eight percent, and the total figure relative to the cap hit of the year the deal was signed is well within the same ballpark.
Whether or not Williams’ contract was worth the value, and not one of the “7 Free Agency Moves That Make No Sense”, according to PFF, obviously comes down to how you evaluate each respective player and how you account for some of the lower moments of Williams’ 2016 season.