The Baltimore Ravens do not exactly have the most imposing offense in the league, and for certain it hasn’t gotten any better following the retirement of Steve Smith and the free agency departure of Rick Wagner at right tackle, but the front office has managed at least to keep together some of their core offense—such as it was—from the 2016 season.
There was some debate leading into free agency whether or not the Ravens would be able to afford the club option on former Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace’s contract, which will pay him a base salary of $5.75 million and produce a cap hit in total of $8 million.
Baltimore managed to do that and more, signing Tony Jefferson as their new starting safety, bringing in Danny Woodhead in a move that was no doubt at least partially inspired by the impending four-game suspension of Kenneth Dixon, and the big move, managing to re-sign stalwart nose tackle Brandon Williams, a player whom I am comfortable describing as the best in the game at his position.
Where exactly did the extra money come from? Well, they previously released cornerback Shareece Wright and safety Kendrick Lewis. Then they released Elvis Dumervil. And then they released Lardarius Webb. So let’s be honest here. They spent a lot of money, but they also released a lot of players who in their recent history were important starting players.
And reportedly, they are restructuring the contract of tight end Dennis Pitta on top of all of that. He comes into the season scheduled to account for a $7.7 million cap hit, $5.7 million of which is his base salary. It’s unclear in what form this restructuring came.
Last season, Pitta, attempting to come back from some serious injuries and missing basically the previous two seasons, agreed to a pay cut that came with incentives to earn some money back. He dropped his base salary by $4 million, but he did end up earning back $3 million in incentives, including leading tight ends in receptions.
While Pitta may have statistically had a strong seasons, even posting career-highs in some respects, a deeper analysis shows that he had one of the largest percentages of failed receptions in the league, failed receptions being catches that do not gain the amount of yardage that entails a ‘successful’ play.
So to briefly recap the Ravens’ offseason so far, the following players are out: CB Shareece Wright; S Kendrick Lewis; S Lardarius Webb; OLB Elvis Dumervil; WR Steve Smith; RT Rick Wagner. The following players have been brought in: S Tony Jefferson; RB Danny Woodhead. And the following players are being retained: NT Brandon Williams: WR Mike Wallace; TE Dennis Pitta.
Just a bit busier than the Steelers’ past week.