ESPN’s Adam Schefter writes that the Baltimore Ravens are currently sitting $5 million over next season’s salary cap, which means that they’ll need to shed some salary before the start of the next league year.
Schefter adds that Ray Lewis retiring will eliminate $3.8 million from their cap, but what is really going to complicate things further is the fact that their QB Joe Flacco is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
Talks between the two sides haven’t been all that productive, so there stands at least a reasonable chance that they may have to use their franchise tag to prevent him from signing elsewhere. If so, that will cost them a projected $14.6 million. This puts them in an even worse situation.
Here’s where Anquan Boldin comes into the mix. Schefter mentions that the Ravens could save an additional $9 million if they were to release Boldin and fellow WR Jacoby Jones. That would still leave them over $8 million over the cap, assuming that Flacco is franchised.
To make matters worse; S Ed Reed, CB Cary Williams and LB’s Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe will all be unrestricted free agents, so it seems very unlikely that they’ll be able to keep all of them next season.
Baltimore may have to rework a number of contracts in the coming months and turn base salaries into bonuses while deferring some money to a later time. The situation is similar to what the Steelers were dealing with last year, but the only problem is that franchising a quarterback is much more than franchising someone like Mike Wallace.