Breaking Down the Rice-Less Ravens Financially

USATSI_8072676_160074578_lowresThe release of Ray Rice amidst his domestic confrontations not only affects the Baltimore Ravens on the field, but in terms of their salary cap tables as well. (Related: The Financial Implications for Releasing Ray Rice)

We’ll take a look at how the Ravens have their 2014 cap dollars allocated positionally heading into their week two contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Positional Cap Allocation

Cap Going Forward

The release of Rice cleared $3.5M from their 2014 salary cap immediately. As of today, our calculations show the Ravens with approximately $5.983M in cap space heading into Week 2. With 6 players on the injured reserve ($2.1M in cap), and $11.3M in current dead money, the Ravens are actually in a fairly stable position in terms of their cap looking ahead.

As of today, the Ravens ahve $126.4M cap dollars allocated to their 2015 salary cap, with 40 players currently under contract. The release of Rice added $9.5M in dead cap to the 2015 table, bringing the Ravens near $10M in total already. An expected increase in the team salary cap should make this a non-factor at this point.

Expiring Contracts

The Ravens will have a need to fill a running back spot sooner than later with Rice’s departure. Bernard Pierce, the featured back going forward, is signed through the 2015 season. He joins Lorenzo Taliaferro as the only RB under contract next year – a young, inexpensive, and somewhat underwhelming arsenal.

The bigger decisions will come on the defensive side of the ball, and with their featured wideout as Torrey Smith is currently playing in the final year of his rookie contract in 2014.

Related: View the year-by-year breakdown of Ravens cap figures

Final Thoughts

The removal of Rice may have been a blessing in disguise going forward, coming off his worst statistical year to date in 2013. The Ravens will suffer a significant dead cap hit in 2015, before washing their hands of the situation (at least in football-related terms). With a core of their roster signed 2+ years out, the Ravens are primed to remain contenders for the short-term, and have an acceptable amount of cap space currently to make better on this, notably with a long-term deal for Torrey Smith. So while the situation at hand may hang a nationalll growing black cloud over the Ravens franchise, the makeup of the team financially remains bright – maybe even brighter than it was a few days ago.

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Article by: Michael Ginnitti

Managing Editor of Spotrac