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The legal tampering period has officially begun, meaning teams and free agents can start negotiating. While deals for unrestricted free agents can’t be formally signed until free agency begins on March 17 at 4:00 p.m. ET, many of the league’s top free agents are likely to agree to terms ahead of time, effectively taking them off the market. With the first 48 hours being so important, how much cap space do the Baltimore Ravens have to spend?
According to the NFLPA’s public salary cap report, the Ravens have $20,942,890 available, prior to signing guard Kevin Zeitler early Monday morning. Baltimore has several key needs this offseason, including finding help at outside linebacker, repairing their interior offensive line, and grabbing more weapons for quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Now, it’s important to note that Baltimore will need to save set money aside to sign their draft picks and emergency funds for midseason acquisitions, so they won’t be able to use that full amount. However, the Ravens also have other players they could cut and others they can restructure to free up more cap space if they absolutely need to.
While you’ll hear about the average cost per year of the contracts signed in the coming days and months, teams can structure deals to fit within their cap constraints. What is most typical, and what we’re likely to see a lot this offseason due to the decrease in salary cap space, is having a contract’s cap hit be lower in certain years in exchange for more expensive years later. This offseason has also seen a lot of contracts with voidable years to help spread out signing bonuses, effectively lowering a player’s cap hit over the life of the contract but putting up a little bit of dead money after the contract would be voided.
Things are likely about to go crazy but the Ravens are in a pretty good spot. Don’t fret if Baltimore doesn’t join the frenzy to begin with, but look for better value deals after the first wave of free agency is over.