General Manager Ozzie Newsome said the Ravens will be “active” on the free-agent market.
But what does that exactly mean?
Newsome threw in a caveat to his statement, indicating that the Ravens will again look to pick up free agents who have been released by other teams in order to take advantage of the compensatory pick formula.
“We will be active, but let me say something: All of those players that we signed last year were free agents and weren’t UFAs [unrestricted free agents],” Newsome said in last week’s State of the Ravens press conference.
“They were cap causalities of other teams, which allowed us to be able to maintain our compensatory picks for the guys that we lost. So, there is a rhyme and reason in how we acquire players – to continue to maintain our ability to stay strong going forward. And we will do the same [this year].”
Teams are awarded compensatory draft picks, which are extra picks in addition to the one in each round teams are given each year, based on a calculation of who they lost in free agency and who they picked up. Lose more and better players than you gain, and you get compensatory picks.
The Ravens treasure those extra draft selections, and plan their strategy accordingly. It also works well for them because they are typically near the salary cap and can’t afford big-name players. According to The Baltimore Sun, the Ravens have $14.5 million in salary cap space.
That’s still enough for Newsome to make some moves, however. The Ravens were tight last year as well, but found a way to add quality veteran free agents such as outside linebacker
“If it means we have to go out and get a UFA this time, which means we probably lose a compensatory pick, we won’t say, ‘No’ to anything,” Newsome said.
“We look at everything from an individual standpoint, and then we see what’s going to make us better for this year and years going forward. The cap room … You can make the cap as fluid as you want it to be. But again, we’re not restructuring contracts. We’re not doing that.”