The Baltimore Ravens are running out of time to make sense of their current cap problem.
Ozzie Newsome has until 1 p.m. on March 10 to trim his roster under the $143.2 million cap limit. As it stands, they have just $4.616 million in cap space when free agency opens, most of which still needs to be tied to their future draft picks. That isn’t a lot to work with when you have several pieces that could be on the move.
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Let’s be clear. There is a big difference what the Ravens are asking from Ngata and Webb. Ngata is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. Baltimore is hoping to work out an extension with Ngata that will free up some of the current cap room while also securing him for a few more years. The Ravens can’t keep Ngata at his current cap figure and must make their decision soon.
Webb is coming off a terrible season which saw him miss the first four games with a back injury. He played the remainder of the season, but didn’t look remotely close to the player the Ravens signed to a six-year, $50 million deal in 2012.
The Ravens have asked Webb to take a pay cut it and it should come as no surprise. The injury-riddled cornerback flat out doesn’t deserve to be paid as one of the top ten players at his position. He carries a $12 million cap hit and the Ravens need some of that money to be spent elsewhere.
The advantage Webb has over Ngata is there is little chance Webb gets cut. Releasing Webb would only save the club $2 million in cap space while cutting Ngata would free up 8.5 million. The Ravens also found out last season how valuable it is to keep several defensive backs on their roster in case of injury.
The Ravens have the advantage in the negotiations and it would be best for both parties if Webb agreed to the pay cut. They know that Webb would not command the $8 million owed if he was to hit the open market. They could find a way to stretch that money into incentives and lower the onus on the cap. The advantage for Webb is that he will still get a significant portion of his salary and could earn the money lost with playing time.
The Ravens are facing the financial burden of the Ray Rice ordeal in 2015 as he will count for $9.5 million against the cap. The only players who will have a higher cap total are Joe Flacco, Ngata and Webb, and Rice won’t play a single down for the Ravens this season.
The hope is to free up roughly $10 million in cap space with the respective deals. There has been rumblings that Gino Gradkowski is next in line for a potential salary cap chop which would save Baltimore another $1.57 million.
They have less than a week to make these important decisions. Unless something gets done with Baltimore’s top paid defensive players, the Ravens run the risk of starting the 2015 with gaping holes in their roster and little money to fill them.
The Ravens still have some time before have to make drastic decisions. If there is one thing we know bout the NFL is that deadlines make things get done.
Lets hope it comes with a new deal for both Ngata and Webb.
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