The absolute dream offseason for the Baltimore Ravens
By Ron N.K
The Ravens signed two of their cornerstone players – left tackle Ronnie Stanley and cornerback Marlon Humphrey – to massive, well-deserved extensions. Albeit being signed relatively recently, both are strong candidates to have their contracts restructured.
Restructuring Stanley’s contract would give the Ravens an additional $5.2 Million in cap space, while restructuring Humphrey’s contract would give them $1.8 Million in additional cap space.
These are not all the player’s who could have their contracts restructured, though, as cornerback Marcus Peters, who has led the Ravens in interceptions in both seasons he’s been here and had the key interception in the lone playoff game the Ravens have won with Lamar Jackson manning the ship, could also have his contract restructured.
This move would give the Ravens and general manager Eric DeCosta a whopping $5.2 Million to work with in free agency.
Lastly, the Ravens could extend key role players – safety DeShon Elliott and guard Bradley Bozeman – to contract extensions this offseason and gain one million dollars in cap space for each.
These extensions make sense, as both players have improved every season and are key for the team’s success, and both will likely receive team-friendly deals.
The final player who could receive a contract extension is the Ravens starting tight end for the past 3 seasons, Mark Andrews.
The 2018 third-round pick has been the best tight end in his draft class by far and has developed into a top-five tight end in the entire NFL, albeit having a less productive season than last (this could be attributed to his bout with COVID-19, the overall regression of the offense, former fellow Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst being traded away last season to the Atlanta Falcons, or fellow (blocking) tight end Nick Boyle suffering a season-ending injury in Week 9).
This move would give the Ravens an additional two million dollars to work with in free agency, money that could be invaluable down the road in the next few months.
Cap Space Following The Above Moves
If all these salary cap casualty moves were to be made by Raven’s general manager Eric DeCosta, the Ravens would have a whopping $61.37 million in cap space to work with.
Earl Thomas III Grievance
On August 23rd, 2020, the Ravens released their former star safety, Earl Thomas, for punching teammate Chuck Clark in a physical dispute in offseason training at the Ravens practice facility. There has been an ongoing dispute with him and the team over language in his contract that says that his guaranteed money can be voided over what is determined by the team to be conduct detrimental.
Albeit this dispute has been ongoing for months and no official ruling has been made by the NFL, for the sake of this hypothetical ‘dream’ offseason scenario we can assume that the Ravens will win the dispute and recuperate the ten million dollars guaranteed salary.
This will raise the Ravens cap space to $71.37 million, giving them the second-most cap space in the NFL (before offseason moves), with only the Jacksonville Jaguars being ahead with approximately $77 million in cap space.
Players to Re-Sign
The Ravens have multiple players that are pending free agents – Matthew Judon, Tyus Bowser, Willie Snead, and Matt Skura, but only two of them are worthy of extensions – Yannick Ngakoue Derek Wolfe, and Pernell McPhee.
Each one of the five Ravens players who are pending free agents and has issues that result in them not deserving to be signed to a contract extension – Judon (expensive, age), Bowser (production), Snead (better options), and Skura (production).
The two Ravens players who are deserving of an extension are either young or produced at a high level this season – Ngakoue (age, production), Wolfe (production – was an excellent run stopper this season and was a major reason why Derrick Henry was stopped and couldn’t get going the entire Wild Card game against the Tennessee Titan.
Then there’s the price – a Wolfe contract extension will likely not be as lucrative as it should be for a player of his caliber), and McPhee (production – played excellent in the regular season and throughout the playoffs).
According to Spotrac.com Ngakoue’s market value is $15.5 million per season. A reasonable extension considering his age (26) and production is a four-year, $64 million contract for arguably the best pass rusher on the market.
Wolfe’s market value is not shown on Spotrac.com but he deserves a raise from his one-year, three-million-dollar contract he signed last season.
A reasonable offer is a two-year, ten-million-dollar contract for the defensive end. Lastly, a reasonable contract for Pernel McPhee, who is one of the last remaining members of the 2012 Super Bowl-winning Ravens who played superbly this season is a one-year, three-million-dollar contract with a second-year team option.
Re-signing these players would leave the Ravens with $47.37 million in cap space to sign players in free agency.