Baltimore Ravens’ salary cap situation heading into 2021

After an anticlimactic season in 2020, what is the Baltimore Ravens’ salary cap situation entering the 2021 NFL season? Let’s take a look at the Ravens’ salary cap situation, as well as which players they could release, restructure, or extend to create additional salary cap space in 2021.

The Ravens project to be around $27 million under the salary cap in 2021

As of March 6, the 2021 NFL salary cap projects to be around $185 million. The Ravens will carry over $0.6 million in cap space to the 2021 season and have a $-39,383 adjustment applied to their cap per Spotrac. Therefore, the Ravens’ current salary cap projects to be $190.0 million.

As it stands, the Steelers have around $146.9 million in commitments to their top 51 highest-paid players, with an additional $11.8 million in dead money. As such, the Steelers are currently around $26.9 million under the salary cap heading into 2021.

To view the most up-to-date numbers for the Baltimore Ravens’ salary cap space, check out our team by team 2021 salary cap space article, which is updated daily.

Baltimore has limited options for releasing players

The Ravens have plenty of salary cap space moving into the 2021 league year. With several key players becoming free agents, Baltimore could create further 2021 cap relief. However, the Ravens have limited options for opening large amounts of 2021 salary cap space through player releases.

Can the Ravens afford to move on from other players on their defensive line?

The Ravens brace for multiple players in their front seven to hit free agency this offseason. Three of those DL include Derek Wolfe, Yannick Ngakoue, and Matt Judon. Unfortunately, two of the bigger cap numbers that the Ravens can release this offseason are also defensive linemen.

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Calais Campbell is set to count $16 million against the Ravens salary cap in 2021. They can save $6 million of that by releasing him this offseason. However, with $10 million in dead money, it seems unlikely they would do so. Brandon Williams’ terms will count $14.4 million against the Ravens 2021 salary cap. Of that, $7.5 million could be saved through a release.

Of the two, Williams is more likely to be released. However, given the other potential losses this offseason, the Ravens may not be willing to let either leave.

Which other players could the Ravens consider releasing in 2021?

The Ravens’ options are minuscule this offseason. The potential players they could save more than $ 2 million by releasing include: QB Lamar Jackson, OT Orlando Brown, TE Mark Andrews, G Bradley Bozeman, LB L.J. Fort, and S DeShon Elliott. Yet, all of those options outside of Fort were key contributors in 2021.

The Ravens have players they can extend or restructure to create cap space in 2021

With limited potential avenues for player releases, general manager Eric DeCosta and head coach John Harbaugh have some tough decisions. With the franchise tag still an option to prevent key players from reaching free agency, the Ravens could find themselves with significantly less salary cap space in 2021.

The Ravens have few choices for potential restructures

Baltimore has just two players they could potentially restructure to save more than $2 million in cap space this offseason. One of those is left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who they extended in 2020. Doing so could move $5.2 million of the $15.3 million in salary cap space into future years. With four years remaining on the deal, the restructure would add just $1.25 million into those four seasons.

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The other option is CB Marcus Peters. Peters is due to count $13.5 million against the cap. A conventional restructure this offseason could save the Ravens around $5.2 million. However, the Ravens could move as much as $10 million into 2022 if they wanted. Baltimore could also add void years to the deal and spread the prorated bonus cap hit into 2023.

The Ravens could extend Campbell and Williams

If the Ravens did not want to release Campbell and Williams, they could extend them instead.

Extending Campbell could save the Ravens $7.9 million in salary cap space in 2021. However, given he is 35, they may not want to commit more years to Campbell at his possible asking price. Therefore, an alternative may be to restructure his contract by adding void years to the deal. If they were to add two void years to the deal, the Ravens could shift around $6 million into 2022 as dead money after his contract is expired following this season.

Williams is also 32 years old, so the Ravens may be hesitant to extend him as well. Doing so could save $5 million, but the Ravens could also look to save in the region of $4 million simply by adding void years to the deal and converting his base salary and roster bonus into a signing bonus.

Extensions could be in the cards for other players this offseason

Lamar Jackson is the obvious name for contract restructures. However, Jackson could conceivably get around the $40 million per year mark, making it difficult for the Ravens to do a deal this year without eating into their cap space. Instead, they may pick up the fifth-year option on his deal, priced at approximately $21.8 million in 2022. Therefore, the Ravens could delay signing Jackson to an extension until next offseason.

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Signing Mark Andrews to a contract extension would save a meager $2 million in salary cap space. However, with 122 receptions in the last two years, Andrews has been a valuable crux of the offense. The Ravens should look to extend him sooner rather than later.

The last name on the list is right tackle Orlando Brown. However, Brown has made it clear that he wants to be seen as a left tackle moving forward. That is unlikely to happen with the Ravens. Thus, it seems more likely the Ravens trade Brown than giving him a contract extension in 2021.

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Ben Rolfe is a Senior Managing Editor at Pro Football Network and is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN