Archive for December, 2015

The Webb Situation

The Webb situation.

Let’s talk about Pitta first, and then let me explain why it MIGHT not make sense to cut Webb/absorb the dead money/pay replacement. All three of these things are always major factors in whether it makes fiscal responsibility to cut a player. It also factors in the on field performance you would expect vs how much it will end up costing you when everything is factored in the equation.

First remember that teams now have two June 1st designations to use on players every year, when it used to be just one. Now also remember that the June 1st designation just pushes that dead money payment into the next year, it doesn’t just go away. You are paying that money one way or the other. You are just deferring half of it til the next year.

I can say this with almost certainty….Dennis Pitta will retire/be released, and he will be a June 1st designation to split his remaining dead money up of 6.6m over 2016 and 2017 cap. So Ravens will get hit with 3.3m in 2016, and 3.3m in 2017. Ok now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into the two players that draw the fans ire the most, Webb and then Monroe. Keep in mind that one of those June 1st designations is already used up on Pitta, so we will only have one left to work with.

Let me make it clear that I am totally on the fence with Webb, but when in doubt go to the numbers and see what they tell you. Webb’s cap number is 9.5m BUT the more important number is his BASE salary of 5.5m. In reality THAT is what we are paying Webb next year in cash, NOT 9.5m. This is very important to realize in the overall scheme of things. Webb still has 6m of prorated bonus money (4m in 2016 and 2m in 2017) left on his contract that would accelerate if he were to be released.

So let’s crunch the numbers. If we release Webb we get hit with all that 6m in dead money on the cap, unless we spread it over 2 years. But again, we are getting hit with that money either way so let’s just say it is a straight release, that other half of money doesn’t just go away it will hurt us in 2017.

So we release Webb who is at 9.5 million cap number. But oh guess what? We still get hit with 6m in dead cap money either way, so he will cost that 6m any way you slice it. Without being on the team and actually playing. Then we have to pay his replacement, who may or may not be as good as him. A classic example of that would be the Kyle Arrington situation. We paid him 7m over 3 years to be a 3rd CB last offseason. How did that work out? Yeah, it didn’t. For even a corner of Webb’s ability these days, say a 2ish 3 type corner….you are going to spend 4-5m to get that guy.

So if we take the 6m in dead money from Webb, add in the say 4.5m for a “decent” #2 corner we are over what Webb would be making in 2016 if we just keep him. So unless we can GUARANTEE that the guy we sign is going to play markedly better than Webb next year (yeah good luck with that) we could essentially be paying the same or more for equivalent performance. Or it could end up costing us a couple million for basically the same type of performance.

Now one other scenario that could be in play is convincing Webb to take yet another cut to his base salary like he did last year. If Webb would agree to take almost ANY substantial reduction, that it shifts the balance to the way of it would not make any sense to cut him and replace. What Webb would have to consider is I am getting paid 5.5m in cash from Ravens in 2016, if I refused the base salary reduction
of say 1-1.5m, can I recoup that money or possibly more in the year of 2016 between the signing bonus and my new base.

Here is where it gets tricky, because if Webb was able to secure almost ANY type of signing bonus, in addition to a bnew base salary for 2016, he would likely surpass the “reduced” new base salary of Ravens at about 4-4.5m instead of the 5.5m it currently is now. From and age/talent standpoint I could very well see some team offer him like a 3 year, 10m new deal with say a 3m signing bonus initially. If Webb went that route, he would be getting basically the same amount the Ravens would be paying him even with a base salary cut of about 1m or so in 2016. He would get the 3m signing bonus, and probably a 2m base salary for a total of 5m with that new team. As you can see it will be very close when Webb, his agents and Ravens start doing the math as to what makes sense.

The thing you also have to remember is that CB is a very premium position these days, and the top of the market is about 14m a year. So even “not good” CB’s are going to get about 3m just because of the position. In order to “upgrade” the position with a good amount of certainty, you will need to spend 7m or thereabouts. In that scenario, clearly makes no sense to let Webb go. Ravens would be looking at paying 6m in dead, PLUS the new salary of replacement and MAYBE that guy will be better. Maybe. Are you gonna go out on that limb and have it cost you 10-11m plus in real cap dollars to do it, when you already have Webb at 9.5? It is a very risky proposition. You could very well come out of it spending more cap money, and getting the same or even worse performance from the position.

The last way to do it would be to slot a rookie in there for Webb, but that again comes with HUGE risks, as we saw with the WR situation in 2015. Usually you count on nothing from 1st year players, and you would almost be forced to use a 1st or 2nd round pick, still be paying about 7-9m in real cap dollars to cut Webb and slide that guy in……and he could be completely worthless his first year, or who knows a total bust altogether giving you zero value.

So as you can see, the Ravens will have a very tough decision on their hands either way you slice it. This s is a classic 50/50 choice any way you slice it, and with the secondary struggling the way it has been I have a feeling the Ravens will be reluctant to let a known, albeit underperforming quantity juts walk out the door when they crunch the numbers like I just did. That 6m in dead money really precludes them from just moving on and not having it end up they are paying the next guy just as much or more, with who knows what type of performance.

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