Tag Archive | "pro football"

NFL salary cap reportedly increasing to $130 million in 2014

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NFL salary cap reportedly increasing to $130 million in 2014

Posted on 20 February 2014 by Luke Jones

With Thursday’s news that the NFL will raise its salary cap to $130 million for the 2014 league year, the Ravens now find themselves in even better position financially with the start of free agency less than three weeks away.

The signing of linebacker Terrell Suggs to a long-term extension Monday left the Ravens with an additional $4.6 million in cap space and just under $16 million total with the initially-projected cap of $126.3 million for 2014, but the league has elected to elevate the cap by over five percent from $123 million last year to $130 million, according to multiple outlets. Such an increase leaves Baltimore just under $20 million beneath the cap at the moment, but that’s not counting the cost of exclusive-rights free agents or restricted free agents.

The extra $3.7 million in space could alter general manager Ozzie Newsome’s outlook on several potential cap casualties such as linebacker Jameel McClain, punter Sam Koch, and fullback Vonta Leach as well as provide more wiggle room to re-sign unrestricted free agents such as tight end Dennis Pitta, left tackle Eugene Monroe, and linebacker Daryl Smith and pursue other possible free-agent targets. Of course, players and agents are very much aware of the news of a higher cap, which will subsequently drive up the cost of open-market free agents in theory.

It’s important to remember that a higher cap will also mean slightly-higher restricted tenders and franchise tag amounts, so the news is relative with all 32 teams benefiting in terms of additional space. If the Ravens plan to use the tag on Pitta, they would now have to fork over an estimated $6.89 million for the tight end franchise tag compared to the previous projection of $6.7 million discussed this offseason.

Of course, whether Pitta would qualify for the tight end tender is a different story entirely.

Teams have until March 3 to decide whether to use the franchise tag on a player and the free-agency signing period begins on March 11 at 4 p.m.

 

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Video of Rice dragging fiancée surfaces, summons states she was knocked unconscious

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Video of Rice dragging fiancée surfaces, summons states she was knocked unconscious

Posted on 19 February 2014 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 4:05 p.m.)

With an Atlantic City police report stating there was surveillance video of the alleged physical altercation between Ravens running back Ray Rice and his  fiancée, it seemed to only be a matter of time before some footage would surface of the incident that resulted in both being charged with simple assault last weekend.

A video released by TMZ Wednesday morning shows a man the publication claims to be Rice dragging an unconscious woman out of an elevator before another man in a suit approaches him and appears to speak into a security microphone.  A few moments later, the man alleged to be Rice appears to walk away from the woman as she regains consciousness.

Rice’s attorney Michael Diamondstein offered the following comments to TMZ in response to the video being released and doesn’t dispute Rice and Janay Palmer being the individuals in the video:

“The video that’s being posted by TMZ Sports is not the complete event, but is merely the end result of what transpired. We’ll assure the public that when this matter is fully tried and completed, you’ll have a better understanding of what happened and we ask the public to reserve making any judgment until all of the facts come out.”

The Atlantic City police revealed Wednesday afternoon that they have referred the case to the county prosecutor’s office “to ensure all appropriate charges are considered.”

The court summons obtained by WJZ-TV and FOX 45 on Wednesday afternoon states that Rice struck her with his hand, “rendering her unconscious.”

Many will draw their own conclusions based on what’s seen on the video, but it’s important to acknowledge that the alleged physical altercation is not shown and the footage doesn’t tell how she lost consciousness. However, there’s no sugarcoating how ugly the aftermath is for the 27-year-old running back after police said both parties struck each other with their hands before what was captured on the video.

A team official had no further comment to WNST.net about the released video as the Ravens continue to stand behind their initial statement regarding the altercation.

Head coach John Harbaugh spoke to Rice on Monday about the incident while general manager Ozzie Newsome had yet to speak to the 2008 second-round pick when he addressed the media to announce a contract extension for linebacker Terrell Suggs on Monday afternoon.

“I don’t know the situation. I’ve only gotten what has been written,” Newsome said. “I’ve not had a chance to talk to Ray; I have not had a chance to talk to [director of security Darren Sanders]. I really don’t know the situation and up until I get all the answers, then that’s when we make decisions within this organization once we get all the information we can get.”

Even if Rice is not convicted of any wrongdoing, he will still be subject to potential league discipline through the personal-conduct policy. In the past, commissioner Roger Goodell hasn’t shied away from suspending players who run afoul of the law or simply paint the league in a negative light.

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How far must the Ravens go to keep Pitta?

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How far must the Ravens go to keep Pitta?

Posted on 18 February 2014 by Luke Jones

With linebacker Terrell Suggs’ long-term future secure and the Ravens gaining an additional $4.6 million in cap space in the process, they now turn their attention to the next biggest items on the offseason agenda.

Left tackle Eugene Monroe and tight end Dennis Pitta are the top priorities, and the ability to work out agreements for both unrestricted free agents is aided by the Ravens holding just under $16 million in salary cap room after Suggs’ contract extension. However, with the start of free agency on March 11 only three weeks away, it becomes more and more difficult to persuade a pending free agent to agree on your terms as he sees the benefit of a wide-open market in full focus.

As contract talks remain far apart with both players, the Ravens have until March 3 to decide whether they want to place the franchise tag on an unrestricted free agent, but such an option appears too expensive for Monroe as the tag for an offensive lineman is projected to be a hefty $11.1 million for the 2014 season and he simply isn’t regarded as one of the best left tackles in the NFL. That leaves Baltimore with the decision of whether to use the designation on Pitta with the 2014 franchise tag projected to be $6.7 million for a tight end.

Such an option would appear to make sense if the sides couldn’t agree and the Ravens were unsure of Pitta’s worth or the fifth-year tight end simply wanted to reestablish his value after a serious hip injury limited him to just four games last season.

If only it were that simple.

Few have paid closer attention to the showdown between New Orleans and All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham than the Ravens as New Orleans is prepared to use the franchise tag on Drew Brees’ top pass-catching target who collected more than 1,215 yards and 16 touchdown catches last season. As a threat who lines up in the slot and out wide more often than as a traditional tight end, Graham is expected to contest that he should be tagged as a wide receiver, which carries a tender that’s $4.8 million more than the anticipated tight end figure in 2014.

While Pitta isn’t at Graham’s level in terms of production, he can easily file a similar grievance after he lined up in the slot on 79.7 percent of his routes last season, according to Pro Football Focus. And while many have argued that the tight end position is simply evolving — with the 6-foot-7 Graham as transcendent as anybody — the collective bargaining agreement makes it clear that a franchise player is to be tendered at the position “at which [he] participated in the most plays during the prior league year.”

In the same way that they prefer not to tag Monroe because he isn’t a top-five tackle in the league, the Ravens can’t risk the possibility of needing to tie an $11.5 million commitment to Pitta. Of course, Baltimore found itself in a similar position with Suggs years ago when he argued that he should be viewed as a defensive end before the sides eventually split the difference in the franchise tag costs for a defensive end compared to a linebacker.

But even a compromised figure of just over $9 million would eat up much of the Ravens’ available cap space in an offseason in which they have a plethora of needs on both sides of the football after the first non-playoff season of the John Harbaugh era.

And Pitta’s agent, Justin Schulman, is aware of that reality as talks continue.

There’s no disputing Pitta’s importance to the offense as one of Joe Flacco’s favorite weapons over the last couple years, but quantifying that on a relatively small sample size is problematic for a player who will turn 29 in June. His best year came in 2012 as his 61 catches ranked ninth among tight ends and his 669 receiving yards were 11th. Pitta has 61 additional catches for 575 yards in his three other seasons combined in Baltimore.

Prior to his devastating hip injury last July, Pitta was expected to fill an expanded role out of the slot to ease the pain of Anquan Boldin’s departure, but the Ravens were never able to see that come to fruition with him missing more than four months of action. At the very least, Pitta was able to prove he was healthy enough to continue his career at a high level after playing in the final four games of the season and recording 20 catches.

With the uncertainty surrounding the price of the franchise tag and Pitta’s absence being an obvious detriment to the offense last season, are the Ravens being backed into a corner from a negotiating standpoint?

Even if Pitta’s representation would have a difficult time making the argument that he deserves to be paid in the same stratosphere as talents such as Graham or New England’s Rob Gronkowski, hefty contracts handed out to non-elite tight ends such as Jared Cook ($16 million guaranteed), Zach Miller ($13 million guaranteed), and Marcedes Lewis ($12.85 million guaranteed) in recent years certainly won’t help general manager Ozzie Newsome. The top tight ends in the league generally have an average salary of $7 million per season over the course of their contract, but it always comes down to how much guaranteed money a team is willing to hand over.

After Cook secured $16 million in guaranteed money last offseason — which included a $5 million signing bonus and three years of guaranteed salary — it isn’t farfetched that Pitta could be looking for guaranteed money approaching the $20 million range.

His production and talents indicate that he should be paid as a top-10 tight end, but his leverage with the franchise tag and what’s still viewed by some as untapped potential may drive the cost much higher than the Ravens would prefer to go.

The clock is ticking on not only the decision to use the tag but the possibility of Pitta hitting the open market with the organization already declaring the need to add an impact wide receiver to an offense that ranked 29th in the NFL last year.

The Ravens can’t afford to lose their starting tight end.

But whether they can afford him without making sacrifices elsewhere remains to be seen.

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Rice reportedly arrested in Atlantic City altercation over weekend

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Rice reportedly arrested in Atlantic City altercation over weekend

Posted on 16 February 2014 by Luke Jones

Ravens running back Ray Rice was reportedly arrested after a physical altercation that took place in an Atlantic City casino over the weekend.

According to a report from The Sun, Rice’s attorney Andrew Alperstein said the three-time Pro Bowl running back and his fiancée were charged and released after both were involved in a “very minor physical altercation” at Revel Casino on the Atlantic City boardwalk. The police report indicates that Rice and Janay Palmer were involved in a domestic dispute recorded on video surveillance in which both parties appeared to strike each other.

Both were charged with simple assault-domestic violence and were released on a summons to appear in court after both refused medical attention. The Ravens released the following statement about the incident on Sunday evening:

“We are aware of the Friday night situation with Ray Rice and his fiancée. We have spoken with Ray and know that they returned home together after being detained.”

Coming off the worst season of his career, Rice rushed for only 660 yards and averaged just 3.1 yards per carry in 2013 as he enters the third season of a five-year, $35 million contract signed in July 2012. The 2008 second-round pick carries an $8.75 million salary cap number for 2014, but the amount of accelerated money remaining on his deal makes his release extremely unlikely this offseason.

Based on the few details known at this point, the incident at the very least is an embarrassing occurrence for the 2008 second-round pick who has such a positive reputation for his charitable work in the community as well as his anti-bullying campaign.

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Former Ravens tight ends coach Harman to join Falcons staff

Posted on 07 February 2014 by Luke Jones

After his 15-year run as Ravens tight ends coach came to an end late last month, it appears Wade Harman is catching on with the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff.

Harman is expected to be hired by Falcons head coach Mike Smith, who coached on the Ravens staff under Brian Billick from 1999 through 2002. FootballScoop.com reported that the pair will reunite after Harman was replaced by new tight ends coach Brian Pariani, who arrived with new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak from the former Houston Texans staff.

The only coach to be with the Ravens for both of their Super Bowl wins, Harman coached a number of talented tight ends including Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe, Todd Heap, and Dennis Pitta.

 

 

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Castillo to remain with Ravens as offensive line coach

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Castillo to remain with Ravens as offensive line coach

Posted on 08 January 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are still in the early stages of formulating their offseason plans, but their most-maligned assistant coach will return for the 2014 season with a new job title.

Head coach John Harbaugh announced Wednesday that run-game coordinator Juan Castillo will remain with the Ravens as the offensive line coach. However, other staff changes could still be on the way as offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell’s future remains up in the air as he completes his third NFL head-coaching interview this week.

“Juan will be the offensive line coach next year,” Harbaugh said at the Ravens’ season-ending press conference. “The rest of it’s a little bit in flux right now. As all this NFL coaching drama goes on, some of our guys are involved in that. We’ll just have to see how it shakes out. But we’re going to build a great coaching staff again [next] year.”

The decision to retain Castillo is surprising after the Ravens finished last in the NFL in yards per carry (3.1) and 30th in rushing yards per game (83.0). Both were franchise-worst single-season marks as running back Ray Rice gained only 660 yards in the worst campaign of his six-year career.

Castillo’s return also indicates that the Ravens feel their biggest blocking issues were with personnel as their starting offensive line at the end of the 2013 season featured just two starters from the Super Bowl XLVII team. At this point, Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda and guard-tackle Kelechi Osemele are the only safe bets to be starters next year with tackles Eugene Monroe and Michael Oher both free agents — re-signing Monroe is a top offseason priority — and center Gino Gradkowski figuring to have serious competition for the starting job.

Though the Ravens have publicly downplayed the changes Castillo made this past season, the alterations to the zone blocking schemes as well as a second-year center replacing retired 15-year veteran Matt Birk proved to be a combustible combination for the offensive line.

Harbaugh confirmed Wednesday that Castillo really served as the team’s head offensive line coach in 2013 despite being given the innovative title when he joined the Ravens’ staff in January 2012. The change in Castillo’s job description may not bode well for incumbent offensive line coach Andy Moeller, who was essentially demoted after being in charge of the offensive line in 2011 and 2012. Assistant offensive line coach Todd Washington also remains on the staff after recently turning down an offer to become the offensive line coach at the University of Southern California.

The Ravens parted ways with running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery last week after a six-year relationship, leading many to wonder if Castillo would be the next to depart. Castillo served as the offensive line coach of the Philadelphia Eagles for 13 years — spending two additional years as their defensive coordinator before being fired in 2012 — and worked with Harbaugh for a decade under Andy Reid.

Though acknowledging everyone on his staff must coach better in 2014, Harbaugh shouldered the blame for giving the unique title to Castillo and leaving him open to even more criticism with the running game struggling so mightily.

“I can understand why Juan is a lightning rod right now because the way we set up the structure and then we go into the season and we have our worst-ever year running the ball and he’s got that title,” Harbaugh said. “That’s on me. When we hired Juan, the idea was to add another great coach into our mix. Juan functioned as the lead offensive line coach last year. That was his job. The title was a way to have three great offensive line coaches in our mix right there. Andy had a big contribution last year. It was a little bit different than he had the year before.

“We had three guys working together and I thought it was going to be a really good mix. I thought those guys did a really good job of coaching together. We didn’t get the result that we wanted to get, but Juan was the offensive line coach and that’s his title going forward.”

The Ravens will now wait on the fate of Caldwell in terms of his prospects of once again become a heading coach. However, no firm commitment has been made that the offensive coordinator will return next year as Baltimore tries to improve an offense that finished 29th in yards and 25th in points scored in 2013.

Caldwell has interviewed with Detroit, Washington, and Tennessee, but the former Indianapolis Colts head man hasn’t been publicly regarded as the favorite — at least to this point — to land any of those head-coaching vacancies.

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Examining the Ravens’ possible 2014 salary cap cuts

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Examining the Ravens’ possible 2014 salary cap cuts

Posted on 06 January 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens don’t enter the winter in quite as dire straights with their salary cap as they did a year ago, but that won’t protect them from facing difficult decisions in trying to rebound from their first non-playoff season since 2007.

Entering the offseason with 37 players under contract and roughly $14 million in cap space — they’ve since signed nine players to reserve-future deals — the Ravens must take a long look at a number of potential veteran cuts that would bring needed room to not only re-sign some of their own free agents but allow them to explore outside possibilities to improve a roster that finished 8-8 in 2013.

The biggest and most intriguing name on the list will be Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs, who is entering the final year of a six-year, $62.5 million contract and has spent 11 years with the organization that selected him in the first round of the 2003 draft. Deciding his status will be at the top of general manager Ozzie Newsome’s list of internal priorities before turning his efforts toward augmenting the roster for 2014.

A name that won’t be on the list of possible cap casualties is running back Ray Rice, who is coming off the worst season of his career and has often been mentioned by fans as someone the Ravens shouldn’t bring back. Though Rice’s 2014 cap figure of $8.75 million is way too high for a running back who averaged only 3.1 yards per carry and gained just 660 yards, his release prior to June 1 would cost $14.25 million in dead money toward the 2014 cap. In other words, cutting Rice would actually be more expensive to the Ravens’ 2014 cap than keeping him for another season.

The three-time Pro Bowl running back isn’t going anywhere in 2014.

It’s important to remember the rule of 51 as the top 51 cap numbers on the roster count against the salary cap. The savings from any released player is offset in part by an additional player jumping into the top 51 from the bottom of the list. For example, if a released player carrying a $3 million cap number is replaced in the top 51 by another player carrying a $405,000 cap number, the end result is a $2.595 million savings on the salary cap.

Here’s how I’d rank the list of possible candidates to be cut for cap purposes (with the pre-June 1 cap savings noted in parentheses), in order from most likely to least likely:

1. FB Vonta Leach ($1.75 million)
Skinny: The fate of the three-time Pro Bowl fullback is the easiest to predict as this move is about football as much as it is finances. The Ravens abandoned the two-back system early in the season as their running game struggled and wouldn’t figure to be willing to pay Leach his $1.75 million base salary in 2014 after he rarely played more than a handful of offensive snaps per game in the final 2 1/2 months of 2013. Even if the Ravens elect to emphasize the fullback more often in their offensive approach for 2014, Kyle Juszczyk or another cheaper option will be preferred to Leach, who sees the writing on the wall in terms of his future in Baltimore.

2. LB Jameel McClain ($3.2 million)
Skinny: The Ravens cut McClain’s 2013 base salary in half while he worked his way back from a spinal cord contusion, so you wonder how willing he would be to accept another pay cut to remain in Baltimore. The free-agent status of veteran Daryl Smith makes this decision more compelling as the Ravens could use the money saved on McClain toward a new contract for Smith, who played well at Mike linebacker in Dean Pees’ system. With younger and cheaper options such as 2013 second-round pick Arthur Brown and Josh Bynes on the roster, it only makes sense for the Ravens to look into lowering McClain’s salary if not deciding to cut him altogether as he enters the final season of a three-year contract.

3. P Sam Koch ($1.6 million)
Skinny: Serving as Baltimore’s punter since 2006, Koch is one of the longest-tenured players on the team, but his $2.8 million cap figure for 2014 is the 10th-highest among players currently under contract for 2014. He did rebound down the stretch after a subpar start to the season, but the Ravens have to think they can go younger and cheaper than the league’s 22nd-ranked net punter in 2013. Of course, cutting Koch wouldn’t make it impossible to bring him back at a reduced rate if he was agreeable to doing so, but finding an effective punter in the latter stages of the draft or in rookie free agency shouldn’t be too impossible of a task.

4. LB Terrell Suggs ($7.8 million)
Skinny: The only reason that Suggs isn’t higher on the list is the likelihood of the Ravens exploring a short-term extension to lower his projected $12.4 million cap figure for 2014. Suggs’ poor second half in 2013 raises concerns about giving more money to a player who will be 32 in October, and the Ravens need to think carefully about making commitments to players for past accomplishments instead of future production. It’s difficult to say whether Suggs’ disappointing second half — only one sack in the final eight games — was the result of an injury or simply wearing down, but the Ravens might be wise to part with him a year early instead of possibly a season too late. It would be hard to walk away from a franchise player and a pass rusher with 94 1/2 career sacks if you think he has plenty left, but $7.8 million in extra space can help accomplish much in an offseason. Whether they ultimately work out an extension, cut him, or somehow manage to get Suggs to agree to a straight pay cut, the Ravens aren’t expected to allow his huge cap number to go untouched.

5. DE Chris Canty ($1.83 million)
Skinny: Considering Canty is their best 5-technique defensive end and fellow defensive lineman Arthur Jones could depart via free agency, the Ravens are likely to keep the 31-year-old veteran after a solid but unspectacular first year in Baltimore. He only counts for $3.16 million on the 2014 cap and the Ravens will already be depending on younger players such as Brandon Williams and DeAngelo Tyson to fill bigger defensive roles, so Canty represents a solid option to plug into the starting lineup for at least one more season. Canty is owed a $500,000 roster bonus on the fourth day of the new league year that begins in March, so a decision on his fate would have to come before then if the Ravens are contemplating cutting him.

6. DT Haloti Ngata ($1 million)
Skinny: The five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle’s name has come up often over the last two winters, but the $1 million in savings from a potential release is dwarfed by the $15 million in dead space the Ravens would need to absorb on the 2014 cap if he were to be cut prior to June 1. It’s virtually impossible to argue that his production no longer matches the $16 million cap figure he’ll carry for 2014, but Ngata is still an above-average player that would be difficult for the Ravens to adequately replace after taking such a big cap hit. The only reason the Ravens would really consider cutting Ngata would be to save the $8.5 million in base salary he’s owed next season, but that would be a decision of saving cash over clearing cap space and not one that would help the team on the field in the coming season. It wouldn’t be impossible, but the Ravens appear very unlikely to cut Ngata this offseason.

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Picks and Comment – Wild Card Weekend

Posted on 03 January 2014 by Luke Jones

Here are this weekend’s picks as The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction will pick every NFL game and local college games this season.

Luke Jones finished Week 17 with a 13-3 record while Drew Forrester was 12-4 on his picks. Concluding the regular season, Jones is 157-98 while Forrester is 149-106. Official standings are based only on the NFL picks.

You can listen to Friday’s “Picks and Comment” segment HERE.

Towson vs. North Dakota State: Tigers 36-30 (Drew), Bison 31-27 (Luke)
Chiefs at Colts: Indianapolis 23-17 (Drew), Kansas City 24-20 (Luke)
Saints at Eagles: Philadelphia 24-10 (Drew), Philadelphia 34-24 (Luke)
Chargers at Bengals: Cincinnati 27-23 (Drew), Cincinnati 20-16 (Luke)
49ers at Packers: San Francisco 20-17 (Drew), San Francisco 23-20 (Luke)

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Examining the Ravens’ 2014 class of free agents

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Examining the Ravens’ 2014 class of free agents

Posted on 02 January 2014 by Luke Jones

The start of free agency is more than two months away, but the Ravens face a number of critical decisions in their efforts to bounce back from missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2007 season.

As it is most seasons, salary cap space will be a concern as the Ravens entered the offseason with 37 players under contract for an estimated cap commitment of roughly $112 million, according to Spotrac.com. The 2014 salary cap has not been officially set, but most are projecting a limit of $126.3 million for the new season.

Of course, the Ravens could elect to terminate or renegotiate several veteran contracts when considering that a staggering $70.9 million in cap space is devoted to defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, quarterback Joe Flacco, linebacker Terrell Suggs, cornerback Lardarius Webb, running back Ray Rice, and right guard Marshal Yanda. Of those six, Suggs would appear to be the only player in serious danger of being released — he is owed a $7.8 million base salary in the final year of his contract — as the termination of any of the other five contracts would bring large quantities of dead money on the cap and little to no net savings.

Other veterans such as fullback Vonta Leach, linebacker Jameel McClain, and punter Sam Koch don’t carry lucrative cap numbers but could be released to create moderate savings in 2014.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

The Ravens will have the opportunity to re-sign any of the following 14 unrestricted free agents before they are free to sign with any other team beginning on March 11 at 4:00 p.m. Each player’s 2013 base salary is noted in parentheses and a brief thought is included:

TE Dallas Clark ($940,000) – The 34-year-old didn’t see one snap after Dennis Pitta’s return and is more likely to retire than to have any chance to return to the Ravens in 2014.

DT Terrence Cody ($630,000) – It’s clear the 2010 second-round pick never panned out as a starter and is unlikely to return next year.

TE Ed Dickson ($1.323 million) – Pitta’s hip injury was a big opportunity for Dickson to prove his worth as a starting-caliber NFL tight end and he was unable to do it, making it likely both sides will move on.

CB Corey Graham ($2.05 million) – Coach John Harbaugh expressed a strong desire to keep Graham earlier this week, but you wonder if other teams will come calling with an opportunity to start and more money.

DT Arthur Jones ($2.023 million) – Jones blossomed into arguably the Ravens’ most complete defensive lineman in 2013, but his strong play will likely make his price tag too high for the Ravens.

WR Jacoby Jones ($3 million plus $1 million roster bonus) – Jones showed improved ability as an intermediate receiver late in the season, but he may prove too costly with so many other needs on both sides of the ball.

S James Ihedigbo ($715,000) – With 2013 first-round pick Matt Elam better suited for strong safety, the Ravens need to allocate resources for a free safety with better coverage skills and Ihedigbo doesn’t really fit that mold.

S Jeromy Miles ($1.323 million) – Miles is a strong special-teams player and the Ravens would likely be interested in bringing him back at a cheaper rate.

OT Eugene Monroe ($3.8 million) – One of the Ravens’ top priorities this offseason, Monroe proved himself worthy of a long-term contract after being acquired from Jacksonville in early October, but how much money will he command?

OT Michael Oher ($3.785 million) – Coming off a disappointing season at right tackle, Oher is unlikely to be back with the Ravens, who will concentrate their efforts toward retaining Monroe and look for another option for the right side.

TE Dennis Pitta ($2.023 million) – It’s unlikely that Pitta is going anywhere as the Ravens will try to work out a long-term deal and could use the franchise tag ($6.8 million for tight ends in 2014) as a last resort.

RB Bernard Scott ($715,000) – With Rice’s future as a feature back in question and Bernard Pierce’s durability an issue, the Ravens are more likely to draft a running back in the middle-to-late rounds than to keep Scott.

LB Daryl Smith ($840,000 and $285,000 signing bonus) – The 31-year-old was a great value signing, but the status of McClain as well as the development of 2013 second-round pick Arthur Brown are important factors to consider here.

WR Brandon Stokley ($940,000) – The 37-year-old has already announced his plans to retire after a 15-year NFL career that began with the Ravens in 1999.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

The following players have accrued three years of service and have expiring contracts. The Ravens must tender each with a restricted free agent offer, but other teams may then sign that player to an offer sheet. If that happens, Baltimore has seven days to match the offer and keep the aforementioned player. If the Ravens choose not to match the offer sheet, they would receive compensation based on which tender was initially offered to that player.

There are three different tenders that can be made: a first-round tender (estimated $3.02 million) would award the competing team’s first-round selection, a second-round tender ($2.12 million) would award the competing team’s second-round selection, and a low tender ($1.389 million) would award the competing team’s draft selection equal to the round in which the player was originally chosen. For example, a restricted free agent selected in the fifth round would be worth a fifth-round pick if given the low tender. If a player went undrafted originally and is given the low tender, the Ravens would simply hold the right to match the offer and would not receive any compensation if they elected not to match a competing figure.

The original round in which each player was drafted is noted in parentheses:

WR Tandon Doss (fourth) - Doss would either receive no more than the low tender or be re-signed at a lower rate and displayed some added value as a punt returner earlier in the season after Jacoby Jones injured his knee in Week 1.

LB Albert McClellan (undrafted) - McClellan fell out of the mix defensively in 2013 but continues to be a strong special-teams player, making his return at the low tender rate or at a lower salary a reasonable possibility.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS

These players have less than three years of accrued service and must be tendered a contract for the league minimum based on their length of service in the league. If tendered, these players are not free to negotiate with other teams. Historically, the Ravens tender all exclusive-rights free agents with the thought that there’s essentially nothing more than an invitation to training camp provided to each.

LB Josh Bynes
LB Adrian Hamilton
LB D.J. Bryant
S Anthony Levine
S Omar Brown
S Brynden Trawick

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Tucker, three other Ravens selected to this year’s Pro Bowl

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Tucker, three other Ravens selected to this year’s Pro Bowl

Posted on 27 December 2013 by Luke Jones

Even if the Ravens’ playoff fate won’t be decided until Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati, they will be represented by four players at this year’s Pro Bowl.

Kicker Justin Tucker, linebacker Terrell Suggs, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, and right guard Marshal Yanda were all chosen for this year’s game with Tucker being the only first-time selection of the group. Suggs becomes a six-time selection while his defensive teammate Ngata receives a Pro Bowl honor for the fifth straight season. Yanda earns his third straight Pro Bowl nod to help cement his status as one of the better right guards in the NFL over the last few seasons.

Fullback Vonta Leach was deemed a first alternate while return specialist Jacoby Jones was named a third alternate after both were selected as Pro Bowl players last season.

Tucker earns his first trip to the Pro Bowl after a phenomenal sophomore season in which he was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player by the local media. The University of Texas product has gone 35-for-38 on field goal attempts this season, which included a 6-for-6 effort and a franchise-record 61-yarder to beat the Detroit Lions in the final minute in Week 15.

His 35 field goals entering Week 17 have tied Ravens Ring of Honor member Matt Stover for the franchise’s single-season record. He was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for November and has twice taken away AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors this season.

“What an incredible honor it is to be recognized like this by the players, coaches and fans of the NFL,” Tucker said in a team statement. “I am truly blessed to represent such a world-class organization, the Baltimore Ravens, and all of our fans who make up ‘Ravens Nation.’ I will forever be thankful to the Ravens for giving me a chance to come in and compete for a job after going undrafted last year.”

Suggs, Ngata, and Yanda haven’t had banner 2013 seasons compared to their high standard set over the years, but reputation is often a major factor with the voting comprised of coaches, players, and fans from around the league.

Collecting nine sacks in the first eight games of the 2013 season, Suggs looked like a Defensive Player of the Year candidate at the midway point, but a six-game sack drought slowed his pace considerably. His 10 sacks this season gave him double digits in that category for the fifth time in his 11-year career while he has continued to play strong against the run.

“This is awesome, and I have to thank God for blessing me again,” Suggs said. “I also have to thank the most amazing fans in the world for voting. I can’t thank them enough. I also want thank coach Harbaugh and my teammates for the constant push, and I must give a special credit to [linebackers coach Ted] Monachino for the outstanding coaching. But most of all, I have to thank my brother, Haloti Ngata, for being a great teammate and an even better friend.”

After being shifted to nose tackle this season, Ngata has collected 45 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks while anchoring the middle of a Baltimore defensive line that ranks ninth in the NFL against the run.

Ngata hasn’t shown the same dominance in recent years that he did earlier in his career, but he’s remained healthier this season than he had in the past two years when he still received Pro Bowl honors.

“I’ve been blessed with so much, and I’m very thankful to be recognized as one of the NFL’s top players,” Ngata said. “I’m also thankful for my teammates and coaches who have helped me get there.”

Yanda missed spring organized team activities and most of training camp while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, but the 2007 third-round pick still received Pro Bowl recognition. His play hasn’t been as consistent as it was in the 2011 and 2012 seasons when he established himself as one of the best right guards in the league, but Yanda was one of the only dependable members of an offensive line that’s struggled with the running game averaging a league-worst 3.1 yards per carry.

Few players on the 8-7 Ravens deserved serious Pro Bowl consideration, but inside linebacker Daryl Smith and cornerback Jimmy Smith were two names often mentioned as deserving of recognition. However, neither was named as much as an alternate.

This marks the eighth consecutive year that four Ravens players have been selected to play in the Pro Bowl.

The Pro Bowl will follow a new format this year in which the teams will not be divided by conference. Players will be entered into a pool and teams will be chosen by captains and Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice during the first Pro Bowl draft held on Jan. 22.

In fact, the change may have helped Tucker receive his Pro Bowl selection as Denver’s Matt Prater was also chosen, meaning the game will have two AFC kickers. Prater is 23-for-24 on field goal tries and made an NFL-record 64-yard field goal this year.

The 2014 Pro Bowl will be played in Honolulu on Jan. 26.

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