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Late For Work 3/15: Any Truth To Percy Harvin Speculation? Le'Veon Bell Takes Shot At Ravens

Posted Mar 15, 2016

Will Ravens make cuts at safety? Still enough cap space for Wallace? Wagner tops performance-based pay.

Any Truth To Percy Harvin Speculation?

I woke up this morning to my Twitter account full of questions about whether there is any truth to the Ravens being linked to free-agent wide receiver Percy Harvin.

We know the Ravens franchise can’t/won’t/doesn’t give any information on potential targets, but I would put the Harvin talk in the “speculation” category at this point.

The speculation began with ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio late last night.

“Receiver Percy Harvin has been out of sight and out of mind for months. But he could indeed be coming back,” wrote Florio. “His contract with the Bills voided last month, and there’s a chance he’ll re-sign with Buffalo. Another team that could end up being in the mix for Harvin is Baltimore.

“The Ravens are looking for the right players at the right price, and Harvin’s goal is to end up with a quarterback that can get him the ball on a regular basis.”

Florio didn’t use the time-honored tradition of pointing to an unnamed “NFL source,” which means that, at least for now, we have to take this to mean it’s his opinion that Harvin could wind up in Baltimore.

Harvin’s career started with a bang as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings with the 22nd-overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. He played four seasons with the Vikings before being traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2013. 

Harvin has been on three different NFL rosters in as many years (Seahawks, Jets and Bills), and hasn’t played a full 16-game slate since 2011 with various injuries marring the way. He’s never broken the 1,000-yard receiving milestone in a single season.

If the Ravens were interested in Harvin, they could probably get him on a cheap deal given his lack of production over the last four years. It would represent a low-risk, high-reward investment on a player that is still young at 27 years old with great potential that has never been fully reached. He’d have to stay healthy for that to happen.

That said, there’s no real tangible evidence that the Ravens are interested, as all sights are still set on another wide receiver  free agent, Mike Wallace, who has the chance to impact the Ravens immediately (see section below for update).

If Wallace declines a potential offer, ESPN’s Jamison Hensley did find an unnamed source that said the Ravens have chatted with other receivers. But that source didn’t say which receivers. Hensley seemed to speculate on who they could be.

“Wallace isn't the Ravens' only option. Baltimore has spoken with other receivers, a league source said. If Wallace declines the Ravens' offer, Baltimore likely will move on to Percy Harvin, Roddy White or Brandon LaFell,” Hensley wrote.

Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell Takes Shot At Ravens

Well this wasn’t very nice, Le’Veon Bell.

The Steelers running back and his followers engaged in a string of “it’s too late” jokes on Twitter when this one came along:

That of course set off Ravens fans, who promptly reminded Bell that Baltimore swept Pittsburgh last year, including in a second contest when about half of the Ravens’ starting offensive unit was injured, including quarterback Joe Flacco, wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and running back Justin Forsett.

Weddle reportedly chose the Ravens over three other interested teams, including the Steelers. Former Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark, who manned the position for the Steelers for eight years and is now an analyst for ESPN, was more gracious about Weddle signing with Baltimore.

Will Ravens Make Cuts At Safety With Weddle On Board?

After thanking General Manager Ozzie Newsome for bringing in a three-time Pro Bowl safety to Baltimore yesterday, Ravens fans quickly started asking questions about the logjam at the position.

“When the Weddle deal becomes official, the Ravens could move on from one or two of their current safeties,” wrote The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec.

Below are some of the safeties currently on the roster and the cap savings that would be had if they were released, per Zrebiec:

Lardarius Webb (converting from corner): $3.5 million
Will Hill (started 14 games last year): $3 million
Kendrick Lewis (started 15 games last year): $930,000 
Matt Elam (2013 first-round pick on injured reserve last year): $1.3 million
Terrence Brooks (2014 third-round pick): n/a

If you ask ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, the most likely player to become the odd man out is either Lewis or Hill.

“The likely plan is to pair Weddle with Lardarius Webb, who is making the switch from cornerback this year,” he added.

Still Enough Cap Space For Mike Wallace?

With reports of Weddle getting $29 million over his four-year deal, including $9 million in 2016, many fans were wondering whether the Ravens will still have enough to sign Wallace if they so choose when he reportedly comes to visit today.

Yes, yes there is.

By the way, for those wondering what the status of Wallace is … the plan was for him to arrive in Baltimore last night and he’s scheduled to meet with the team all day today, per reports.

“The Ravens can woo him by giving him a tour of 200,000-square-foot facility. They can walk him past the two Lombardi trophies in the lobby, the putting green just outside the front door and the state-of-the-art training and weight rooms,” wrote Hensley.

“But, if the Ravens want to seal the deal, they need to get Joe Flacco to take a break from his rehab and shake hands with Wallace. It would be more than a meet-and-greet with a franchise quarterback. This is Wallace's face-to-face with a prime opportunity. The Ravens have to sell that Wallace will be able to cash in after a season or two with Flacco. They have to persuade him that a low-budget deal this year can lead to a more lucrative one next offseason.”

Rick Wagner Tops Ravens In Performance-Based Pay

For the second consecutive year, right tackle Rick Wagner topped the Ravens’ list of performance-based earners.

The NFL implemented a performance-based pay program that compensates players who make the least via their contract, yet play the most. As a former fifth-round pick, Wagner doesn’t have a deal that dolls out big money (four years for a reported $2.281 million), but he started all 16 games last season.

As such, Wagner was rewarded with an extra $237,349.95.

Each team gets $3.802 million to divide amongst its players, which doesn’t count against the salary cap. The other 13 performance-based payments to Ravens players that exceeded $100,000 included (per ESPN’s Field Yates):

  1. WR Kamar Aiken: $199,880
  2. OT James Hurst: $153,255
  3. OL John Urschel: $146,548
  4. LB Zach Orr: $137,684
  5. NT Brandon Williams: $136,808
  6. OL Kelechi Osemele: $120,554
  7. FB Kyle Juszczyk: $119,039
  8. LB Za'Darius Smith: $118,224
  9. WR Jeremy Butler: $117,069
  10. OL Ryan Jensen: $115,427
  11. S Terrence Brooks: $112,455
  12. TE Crockett Gillmore: $108,646
  13. Brynden Trawick: $106,734

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