Baltimore Ravens Experiencing Buyers Remorse on Recent Contracts?


Oct 12, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones (12) runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Baltimore Ravens defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-17. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Ray Rice, Lardarius Webb, Dennis Pitta, Jacoby Jones: All are guys who were signed to big multi-year contract extensions by the Baltimore Ravens. Another thing they have in common: They’ve all either struggled with their play, injuries or off the field issues. In sum, the Ravens have not had much success with big extensions of late.

Let’s start with Rice, the obvious misfire. Re-signing him to a big deal was risky from the start, as running backs rarely provide good return on their big extensions, yet the Ravens did it anyway. Rice had a good year in the first year of his contract, struggled in the second, and ruined his career with off-the-field issues in the third. Needless to say, the Ravens should regret that contract, as they are now on the hook for millions against the salary cap after cutting Rice.

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The other guys are more interesting.

Look at Lardarius Webb, for instance. After his 2012 contract, Webb has struggled with injuries, and his play has taken a hit. At this point, Webb is highly unlikely to ever return to the form that netted him a six-year, $50 million deal. But the Ravens can’t do anything about it. They could cut him this offseason with a post -June 1 designation, which would save them about $3.5 million. But the Ravens’ thin secondary paired with the dead money that would create makes that unlikely.

Dennis Pitta is a more recent case, having signed a five-year, $32 million deal this offseason, a massive contract considering he was coming off an injury. The injury struck again, and now Pitta’s career is in question.

Jacoby Jones is perhaps a more pressing case, as his play is the reason for concern, not injury. He has been in no way, shape or form worthy of his four-year, $12 million deal. The Ravens can cut him with little issue this offseason in a pinch, but dealing with all these bad contracts would add up to a lot of dead money.

Last but not least, let’s take a moment to look at Joe Flacco‘s massive deal. The details have been discussed at length (in short, it’s a six-year, $120.6 million deal), but the year to be concerned about is 2016. That’s when Flacco’s cap number takes a massive leap from $14.55 million to $28.55 million. Needless to say, the Ravens don’t want to pay Flacco that much. What they will do about it, though, remains to be seen.

If asked, the Ravens would probably not admit to regretting any of these deals except for Rice, yet the effect is obvious. The Ravens have a lot of money wrapped up in guys who are not living up to their cap numbers.

This offseason, the Ravens have a lot of decisions to make. Jimmy Smith and Torrey Smith are the obvious guys, though their value is definitely up for debate. Other candidates to re-sign are Owen Daniels, Pernell McPhee, Justin Forsett, Justin Tucker and Will Hill. All of those guys are in line for raises, and the Ravens are unlikely to be able to sign all of them.

Better extensions the past several years would make this offseason easier, but that ship has sailed. The Ravens have buyers remorse on a lot of their most recent re-signings, and they won’t want to make the same mistakes again. How they handle this offseason will be fascinating for that reason.