How Baltimore Ravens can afford signing DeAndre Hopkins

Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY

DeAndre Hopkins was just released by the Arizona Cardinals, making him a free agent immediately. Lamar Jackson said that he wants to play with Hopkins, and Hopkins said he wants to play with Jackson, so once the release came plenty of fans speculated that the Baltimore Ravens will have interest.

How Baltimore Ravens can afford signing DeAndre Hopkins

It is easy to brush the interest aside, especially when you remember that the Ravens already added Odell Beckham Jr., and they are pretty tight against the salary cap. However, if Beckham did not mind a little added target competition, the Baltimore Ravens could afford to pull this move off.

As the Baltimore Ravens stand, they have about $11M in cap space. That does not sound like enough for Hopkins when you consider the Cardinals are eating $19M right now, and the Ravens just signed Odell Beckham for $15M. The team adding Hopkins will probably pay a price similar to what Beckham just got. The Ravens have some space, but they always need to carry $5M or so just in case they need to make moves during the season. No team can enter the year maxing out their space

However, when you look at the Ravens' contract with Odell Beckham, the deal actually only has a $3.9M cap hit next season. This is because the team added void years, and pushed the money down the road. Now, there will be a time when the rest of the salary does catch up to the Ravens, but the thought is that the salary cap will go up, so the hit will be a smaller percentage of the cap.

The Ravens could obviously do the same for Hopkins and essentially offer him the same deal. They could handle a $4M cap hit this year and still have cap space for the rest of the season. Of course, next year they would have Hopkins and Beckham on the hook for about $24M combined, and they would need to try to extend one of the two to smooth that hit over.

Still, that is a problem for next year. While the Ravens do not want to completely ruin their future cap, it is clear that this is an all-in season by the way that they assembled their roster. Adding DeAndre Hopkins could put them over the top.

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There are reasons that this deal may not work for either side, but the Ravens' salary cap space is not the big issue holding this back.