Archive for February, 2013

Early Ravens 2013 53 man roster/salary cap projection

flacco lombardiWhile much has been made about the Ravens cap problems, I have compiled a spreadsheet to put some facts into the discussion. Much has been made about Joe Flacco “crippling” the franchise with a big contract, a “rebuilding year” due to a mass exodus of free agents, or how the Ravens are due to “take a step back” due to cap concerns. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The cap situation while tight has been extremely overblown with all types of wild speculation, not based on the actual numbers, but on typical offseason hysteria driven by lazy reporting. So I put together a little example of how the Ravens will be just fine in 2013 and moving forward, despite the widely held opinion doom and gloom is on the horizon. Ozzie Newsome and the front office’s stellar drafting and player acquisition the past few years has set this team up for multiple runs at a championship, much to the chagrin of everyone outside of Baltimore.

The 2013 salary cap is projected to be around $122 million, which every team must comply with by Mach 12th. With the cap being flat I used estimated RFA tenders, and cap values for draft picks from last years numbers for this estimate. This is ONLY an estimate, will not be exact but should be pretty close. I took some guesses on what positions we will be drafting but the cap numbers will be the same regardless of position, so that is neither here nor there.

Here is how it shakes out:

Player Position Status Base Salary Bonus Prorate Cap Value Rule 51 Value
Joe Flacco QB Re Sign 10,000,000 10,000,000
Tyrod Taylor QB Contract 555,000 26,327 581,237 581,237
Anquan Boldin WR Contract 6,000,000 1,531,250 7,531,250 7,531,250
Jacoby Jones WR Contract 3,000,000 900,000 4,900,000 4,900,000
Torrey Smith WR Contract 683,112 241,224 924,336 924,336
Laquan Williams WR Contract 555,000 166 555,168 555,168
Tandon Doss WR Contract 555,000 103,140 695,810 695,810
Tommy Streeter WR Contract 480,000 23,513 503,513 503,513
Ray Rice RB Contract 1,000,000 4,750,000 5,750,000 5,750,000
Bernard Pierce RB Contract 480,000 138,986 618,986 618,986
Anthony Allen RB EFA 400,000 400,000 000,000
Comp Pick (4) Contract 400,000 100,000 500,000 500,000
Ed Dickson TE RFA/O 1,300,000 0 1,300,000 1,300,000
Dennis Pitta TE RFA/O 1,300,000 0 1,300,000 1,300,000
Draft 3rd Round Contract 400,000 150,000 550,000 550,000
Marshall Yanda OG Contract 4,500,000 2,950,000 7,450,000 7,450,000
Michael Oher OT Contract 3,085,000 1,170,000 4,955,000 4,955,000
Bryant McKinnie OT Contract 3,000,000 3,000,000
Ramon Harewood OT RFA/O 1,300,000 0 1,300,000 1,300,000
Kelechi Osemele OT Contract 542,085 218,340 760,425 760,425
Jah Reid OG Contract 555,000 140,810 695,810 695,810
Gino Gradkowski C Contract 480,000 121,106 601,106 601,106
Draft 4th Round Contract 400,000 100,000 500,000 500,000
Comp Pick (3) Contract 400,000 150,000 550,000 550,000
Sam Koch P Contract 1,900,000 600,000 2,500,000 2,500,000
Morgan Cox LS RFA/O 1,300,000 0 1,300,000 1,300,000
Justin Tucker K Contract 480,000 0 480,000 480,000
Haloti Ngata DL Contract 4,000,000 7,500,000 11,500,000 11,500,000
Art Jones DL RFA/2 1,950,000 0 1,950,000 1,950,000
Terrence Cody DL Contract 630,000 280,000 910,000 910,000
Pernell McPhee DL Contract 555,000 36,140 591,140 591,140
Tyson DeAngelo DL Contract 480,000 11,898 491,898 491,898
Draft 5th Round Contract 400,000 30,000 430,000 430,000
Draft 6th Round Contract 400,000 25,000 425,000 425,000
Terrell Suggs OLB Contract 6,400,000 6,620,000 13,020,000 13,020,000
Courtney Upshaw OLB Contract 630,759 573,036 1,203,795 1,203,795
Michael McAdoo OLB Contract 555,000 1,666 555,666 555,666
Albert McLellan OLB EFA 400,000 0 400,000 000,000
Draft 2nd Round Contract 400,000 250,000 650,000 650,000
Dannell Ellerbe ILB UFA 3,500,000 3.500,000
Jameel McClain ILB Contract 3,000,000 1,200,000 4,200,000 4,200,000
Brendan Ayanbadejo ILB Contract 940,000 133,333 1,073,333 1,073,333
Josh Bynes ILB EFA 400,000 0 400,000 400,000
Draft 1st Round Contract 400,000 1,000,000 1,400,000 1,400,000
Lardarius Webb CB Contract 2,385,000 3,000,000 5,385,000 5,385,000
Jimmy Smith CB Contract 1,053,336 981,673 2,035,009 2,035,009
Corey Graham CB Contract 1,800,000 600,000 2,400,000 2,400,000
Asa Jackson CB Contract 480,000 36,140 516,140 516,140
Chykie Brown CB Contract 555,000 36,140 591,140 591,140
Comp Pick (5) Contract 400,000 30,000 430,000 430,000
Ed Reed FS Re Sign 4,000,000 4,000,000
Bernard Pollard SS Contract 2,000,000 750,000 3,250,000 3,250,000
Christian Thompson SS Contract 480,000 75,146 555,146 555,146
122,065,908 121,265,908

As you can see the Ravens are right around the $122 million number in this calculation, but this does not include any dead money accrued from cuts, or cap carryover from 2012 of 1.1 million. The only significant dead money will be from Ray Lewis and Vonta Leach, the two notable cuts or in Ray’s case retirement. Here are the dead money totals:

Player Position Status Base Salary Bonus Prorate Cap Value Rule 51 Value
Ray Lewis ILB Released 1,475,000 1,475,000
Elliott Hennigan DT Released 1,334 1,334
Billy Cundiff K Released 1,800,000 1,800,000
Omar Brown SS Released 667 667
Bobby Rainey RB Released 1,500 1,500
Nick Jean Baptiste DL Released 3,334 3,334
Vonta Leach FB Contract 3,000,000 1,333,334 666,667 666,667
Ishmaa’ily Kitchen DL Released 3,334 3,334
Jack Cornell OG Released 2,667 2,667
Antoine McClain OG Released 2,667 2,667
Cyhl Quarles S Released 2,667 2,667
John Brantley QB Released 2,000 2,000
Dorian Graham WR Released 2,000 2,000
Devin Goda WR Released 1,667 1,667
Terrence Moore DE Released 1,667 1,667
Bobby Williams OG Released 200,000 200,000
Matt Birk C Released 350,000 350,000
Deonte Thompson WR Released 1,333 1,333
Total Dead Money 4,518,504 4,518,504

It should be noted that the dead money for Vonta Leach and Ray Lewis is a “post June 1″ number splitting the hit between 2013 and 2014. If the Ravens chose to take both hits in 2013 it would raise the total dead money by $2.141 million. (CBA rules allow two post June 1 designations regardless of when the player is released) So as you can see we have dead money of approximately $4.518 million, that needs to be added to the total cap commitments. After doing so, and subtracting our cap carry over from 2012 of 1.1 million it looks like this:

Total Dead Money 4,518,504 4,518,504
Total 53 man roster 122,065,908 121,265,908
Total Estimated Cap 125,784,412
Est 2012 Cap CarryOv 1,100,000
Projected Cap 2013 124,684,412

That puts the Ravens approximately $2.684 million over the cap, with all 53 players and dead money included. Again, this is not going to be exact, but it can paint a picture of just how “dire” the situation is. So with that said, let’s go over some notes on the roster, who is back and who is not – and how I got to some of the cap numbers.

Question marks who I think will be re-signed/retained

1. Joe Flacco – I have Joe Flacco’s first year cap number on a long term extension (something in the 7/140 range with $60 million guaranteed) at $10 million, which is probably on the high end of what it will actually be. Obviously I am banking on a deal getting done, but it seems extremely unlikely Flacco and the Ravens won’t be able to come to an agreement. Flacco’s agent Joe Linta said that he could make an $8 million first year cap number work, but I went on the high side just to be safe. It is likely we can gain an additional $2 million or so of cap space compared to this projection, if we need it.

2. Anquan Boldin – You will notice the Boldin is still on the roster (amazing!), and not only on the roster but at his current 7.53 million cap number which is the last year of his deal. If the Ravens wanted to extend Boldin on say a 2 year deal, that cap number could be lowered by a few million. But again, I took worst case scenario and have him penciled in at his present cap number.

3. Ed Reed – Wait a minute we have money for him too? Yes we do. Reed is living in dream land if he thinks anyone is paying a 35 year old safety what a 25 year old would get, and I have his cap number at $4 million which again is probably being generous depending on the structure of a new 3-4 year low guarantee deal. There is a good chance that could be lower by a million or so, but again I assumed the worst for 2013.

4. Dannell Ellerbe – I have Ellerbe at $3.5 million because I am projecting he will command a reasonable 4 year deal where his bonus could be spread out over that period. Ellerbe is a mid level free agent who plays a position that doesn’t break the bank, and should not command “huge” money on the market. Decent money, but nothing earth shattering.

5. Bryant McKinnie – The Ravens said they are going to let McKinnie test the market, but for a 33 year old tackle who has a reputation of not being in shape his price should be very reasonable on another 2-3 year deal. Free agent and draft tackle depth will keep his price down as well, so I think he will be back at around 3 million a year or thereabouts.

Other notes – You will notice that not one penny of any of these contracts included in the 53 man roster was restructured to fit in. If we happen to be a few million over when all is said and done, we could easily convert a few million in base salary from Yanda, Ngata, or Suggs to gain that extra tiny bit of room if need be.

Free Agent Departures/Cap Casualties

1. Vonta Leach – Leach’s 4.33 million cap number for 2013, and his $3 million savings were just too much for a guy who has been seeing the field less and less lately. He is one of the few cap casualties I have, but necessary in the overall scheme of things.

2. Cary Williams – A decent corner who will get paid like a great one in free agency. With Lardarius Webb back in the fold we can deal with the loss of Williams rather easily. Great story from a 7th round pick to big payday, but it won’t be the Ravens paying.

3. Paul Kruger – It took Kruger 3 years to finally find his niche as a pass rushing specialist. With Courtney Upshaw and Terrell Suggs penciled in as starters at OLB, the Ravens can’t justify paying a part time player a Pro Bowl salary. Some other team will pay him to start at OLB in a 3-4 scheme, but with the salary he will command it just isn’t a fit here in Baltimore.

4. Matt Birk – I think even if Birk wants to come back the Ravens might choose to move on. They drafted Gino Gradkowski last year, and with a year under his belt to learn the system and get a little stronger, it might be time to give the young guy a chance at center. Birk has been a fantastic Raven but his time might be up at 36 years old.

Other Player Notes :

1. Jameel McClain – I have him in the 53 man roster but this is a player who could very well be released. He suffered a spinal cord injury late in the season and still has not been cleared for contact, more than 2 months later. Not only that but his play before the injury left a lot to be desired, and $4.2 million is a hefty price tag for an ordinary ILB. If he was released there would be a net savings of $1.8 million on the 2013 cap if the Ravens took the entire dead money hit of $2.4 million this coming season.

2. David Reed – Usually the Ravens tender all restricted free agents, but I have Reed on the outside in favor of Streeter. I just feel like Reed has been injury prone, and has limited value and ceiling  on the back end of the roster at this point. A younger, cheaper guy like Streeter could very well take his spot down the depth chart. I would say it is 50/50 as far as who gets the last WR spot on the 53 man roster between these two., and if we select a WR at any point in the upcoming draft Streeter probably goes to the practice squad while Reed is cut.

3. Brendan Ayanbadejo – I have Brendan back but recently there have been reports that his time is up, after a subpar year and no tackles on special teams in the postseason. I have been writing him off for the past couple years so it isn’t surprising, he will be 37 by the time the season starts and it is amazing he lasted this long. I would guess his spot will be replaced by one of the late round picks I have as an IR stash, or a low level free agent.

Injured Reserve – I have 2 late round selections (6th and 7th comp pick) as guys who will mysteriously come down with injuries in training camp, like a few very raw late round rookies seem to every year. If McClain is cut one could take his spot on the 53 man roster. Call it an educated guess.

So there it is. Remember how this team was going to be decimated by the cap, and how we are in so much trouble? How there was no way we keep the core of our players from the Super Bowl team, and mass cuts would be made? How we are so bad off in cap shape that there was no way we could field a competitive team in 2013? Not the case at all.

One simple fact remains year after year with the Baltimore Ravens, as long as Ozzie Newsome and company keeps hitting home runs in the draft, and has a roster full of rookies producing for very little cap dollars, this train is going to keep on rolling along. Great drafting enables teams to keep established veterans, and go to the playoffs year after year with “deep depth” on the roster. Just Like the Ravens have for the past 5 years, and barring unforeseen circumstances will make it 6 consecutive trips in 2013.

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