While we have on a few occasions this offseason already discussed the Baltimore Ravens in terms of their salary cap position, one aspect that we have largely failed to account for is the obvious predictable expenses that are not reflected in a team’s current salary cap that you might see around the internet.
Over The Cap, for example, currently lists the Ravens as having roughly $6 million in salary cap space, but the reality is that that is nowhere as much as it sounds when you take into consideration that they will still need to foot the bill for the 52nd and 53rd members of the 53-man roster, in addition to a 10-man practice squad.
Those figures along would constitute a few million, and we also have to consider the sudden accounting of injured players who will be on injured reserve for the physically unable to perform list. And the Ravens do have that to deal with as well with cornerback Tavon Young already out for the year. Players waived with injuries will also have settlements, and roster bonuses and other sorts of benefits will also come into effect.
Some estimates suggest that the Ravens could project to enter the regular season with only about $1 million in cap space, which is quite simply not enough, especially if they have any intentions of actually adding a free agent offensive lineman between now and then, which has been mentioned multiple times.
In other words, the long and short of it all is that Baltimore is likely going to have to do some contract restructuring with a number of their veteran players. They do have candidates for this. Some of their veterans with high reliability would be an obvious target for restructure, a process Steelers fans will be familiar with.
Potential targets for restructure might include Marshal Yanda, their only veteran starting offensive lineman, Pro Bowl kicker Justin Tucker, or safety Eric Weddle, who only signed a contract with the team last offseason. But Mike Mitchell did the same for the Steelers.
Generally speaking, the more years a player has left on his contract, the better a candidate he would be for restructuring, since it will spread the increased cap hit in future years in exchange for the cap reduction in the current season over a higher number of years.
The fact that the Ravens have nearly $20 million wrapped up in dead money this year is certainly not doing them any favors. Do you remember Eugen Monroe? He is still counting $4 million against their salary cap in 2017. Even though he is on the roster, Lardarius Webb has a $2 million dead money charge because they released him.
Steelers fans will recall these circumstances of just a few years ago, and I’m sure there is little sympathy to go around. It would be very surprising if the Ravens would be able to avoid any restructures this summer, which means they will have to push more money into the future.