Ray Rice: A good fit for contract tweaking
Well, that’s all folks. Ravens finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs. So its off to the drawing board, finding ways to improve their situation for next year.
Currently, the Ravens have about $111.8M wrapped up in just 37 players under contract and dead money for 2014. Next year’s salary cap is estimated to be set at $126.3M, with the Ravens adjusted cap for incentives around $125.8M. The Ravens have roughly $14M left to spend on 16 players to make up the 53-man roster.
Obviously there will be some roster cuts, RFAs, draft picks, maybe a trade, but definitely some restructuring needs to be done.
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Ray Rice is one player that comes to mind as a perfect candidate for re-construction. I think Ray Rice draws a pretty good comparison to Panthers RB, DeAngelo Williams. Williams signed a five year, $43M deal with a $16M signing bonus prior to the 2011 season. The very next season, Ray Rice signed his own five year deal worth $35M, $15M bonus.
Williams was supposed to be the feature back in Carolina, highly touted coming out of Memphis. But Jonathan Stewart made his debut two years after Williams, and has been just as much a focal point of their running game. Sounds like the same situation here in Baltimore as Ray Rice has seen his touches diminish each year with Bernard Pierce in the picture.
Rice had 367 touches in 2011, His last year before Pierce showed up. In 2012 his touches went down to 318 as Pierce got 115. In 2013, Rice received the rock just 272 times, and Pierce’s touches rose to 172. Ray Rice was all but benched in the first half (one carry in the first half) of yesterday’s must win game, in lieu of Bernard Scott, and Pierce of course. Poor O-line or not, that’s how the Ravens feel about Ray Rice right now. Hoping Bernard Scott could provide some kind of spark to get the run game going after 15 games of historically bad performances.
Ray Rice’s cap number is set to increase $3M from $5.75M to $8.75M. His cap number is going up, and his contribution is going down. Just like DeAngelo Williams accepted a contract restructure prior to the 2013 season, Ray Rice seems to be perfect candidate to do the same with.
Williams was scheduled to make $5M in 2013, but carried a cap number of $8.2M. His base salary was going to be $4.75M with $250K in a workout bonus. They we’re able to restructure his deal so that Williams would still take home $5M in 2013, but his base salary was knocked down to $850K, 150K in workout bonus, and $4M in signing bonus.
There are more details, like $2.2M in dead money in the 2016 and 2017 seasons. But salary caps are expected to be much bigger by then with teams getting more television money like baseball owners are now getting. The bottom line is the Panthers saved $3.2M against the cap with this move. Ray Rice is set to make $5.75M in 2014, with $4M of that in base salary.
If the Ravens can reconstruct Rice, like the Panthers did with Williams, bringing the salary cap number down to what Rice will actually take home, they can save $3M. That’s $3M that it looks like the Ravens could certainly use right now.
*Salary cap info from spotrac.com