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Late For Work 2/27: 6 Ravens Moves That Could Happen In Next 2 Weeks


6 Moves That Could Happen In Next 2 Weeks

Releasing Jacoby Jones could be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Ravens making salary cap-saving moves in advance of free agency on March 10.

Remember what Ozzie Newsome said on Tuesday? He said he would "exhaust every avenue" to find cap flexibility. (More on that later today from Garrett Downing.)

Of course, Newsome didn't say what all those avenues were, but ESPN's Jamison Hensley sees six moves the Ravens could make over the next 11 days that create more than $15 million in cap savings.

"[W]e will exhaust every avenue that we have to use and to get as much cap flexibility as we can, so that I can, hopefully, have us set up to move toward the draft with the best football team that we can have," the general manager said.

"We've been working at it. We're working very hard to gain a lot of cap flexibility so that we can retain our guys and be able also to go out and get some."

Of course, Newsome didn't say what all those avenues were, but ESPN's Jamison Hensley sees six moves the Ravens could make over the next 11 days that create more than $15 million in cap savings.

Below is his list and projected savings, but of all the suggested moves, the Ravens have only acknowledged negotiations with Ngata. That means some or all of the others may not be on their radar.

1)     DT Haloti Ngata contract extension ($5 million in savings) or release ($8.5 million)

"If the sides can't reach an agreement in 12 days, the Ravens will be forced to cut the five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman."

2)     G Marshal Yanda contract extension (around $2 million)

"This is a win-win situation. The Ravens can make sure they'll have one of the NFL's best offensive linemen for the next four to five years, and Yanda can get the opportunity to be a Raven for life."

3)     CB Lardarius Webb contract restructure (potentially $3 million)

"The likely move is restructuring Webb's deal like last year, when they converted a chunk of his base salary into a bonus and spread the hit over the remaining years of his contract."

4)     DE Chris Canty retirement or release ($2.66 million)

"There's little chance of Canty returning because of the Ravens' depth at defensive line and need for cap space." * *

5)  *   *C Gino Gradkowski release ($1.574 million)
"A performance escalator (Gradkowski was a starter in 2013) increased his base salary to $1.695 million, which is too high for a little-used backup."

6)  *   *LB Albert McClellan release ($1 million)
"He's a core special-teams player, so there is a chance that McClellan remains."

Ravens Rank No. 2 In GM/Coach Duos

Ravens fans should feel dang proud to have a proven general manager/head coach duo leading the way in Baltimore.

Newsome and John Harbaugh have been going strong for seven years together, resulting in six playoff appearances and a Super Bowl victory. They have an incredible 72-40 record together. And there's no sign of the two slowing down.

They are arguably the best GM/coach duo in the league, but NFL Media columnist Adam Schein has them ranked No. 2 behind Arizona Cardinals' Steve Keim and Bruce Arians.

"Baltimore is brilliant," wrote Schein. "The Ravens' brass is fantastic, always seemingly eight steps ahead, knowing exactly when to say goodbye to free agents, when to pay money to their own and when to shop for outside help. And nobody – I mean nobody – runs the war room on draft day better than Newsome, Eric DeCosta and Co.

"Harbaugh doesn't get the credit he deserves. He's a spectacular coach, plain and simple. Every year, the Ravens' upside is to compete for a Super Bowl. That's saying something."

Ravens One Of NFL's Highest-Spending Teams

Over the last two years, the Ravens have been one of the highest-spending teams in the NFL on player salaries, says The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson.

He looked into the salary figures provided by the NFL Players Association, and the Ravens have invested a combined $252.25 million in contracts, equating to 98.54 percent of the salary cap.

That number is well above the minimum of 89 percent, which teams are required to spend or else they have to pay the difference to the NFLPA.

The Ravens are up against the projected cap in 2015 with reportedly only $5.17 million to spare, including the $750,000 saved by releasing Jones. It doesn't leave a lot of room for the Ravens to make a big free-agency splash, and it will prevent them from re-signing some of their own free agents.

"There are a lot of teams out there that don't spend to the cap, and we do," Owner Steve Bisciotti said Tuesday. "I'm always envious of those teams right about this time of the year, and then they're envious of me when we are in the playoffs."

Dockett Workout Makes Jernigan Sick

Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett doesn't like training with other players, especially those that "bitch and complain" about his intense workouts.

But he's made an exception for Ravens defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan because the two played football at Florida State. Instead of complaining, Jernigan had a different kind of reaction …

"I warned [Jernigan] Im not human and nothing I do will be easy," Docket wrote on Instagram. "[T]his happened not only did he throw up 1x or 2x this is his 3rd time in 1hr.

"But he did not quit and it's all Love, but Ravens fans yAll will thank me in 3months cuz he will be in the best shape of his life and he's already a Dawg."

If you have a weak stomach or sensitive ears, don't click on Dockett's video of Jernigan losing his lunch along with a muffled curse word that comes out with it.

2006 Draft Re-Do Has Ngata Going No. 2

If the 2006 draft was replayed with 20-20 hindsight, how would it go down?

Well, NFL Media's Lance Zierlein says that Ngata would have been the highest-ranked player on the board regardless of team need, but would have gone No. 2 overall to the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints took running back Reggie Bush that year, and was he ultimately traded to the Dolphins in 2011. Bush has played for three NFL teams since being drafted and was cut by the Detroit Lions this week.

"In hindsight, Bush was a bit of a luxury pick based on his explosive tendencies coming out of college," wrote Zierlein. "At age 28, RB Deuce McAllister still had something left in the tank. Ngata could have stepped in and immediately challenged Hollis Thomas for the starting spot up front and dominated for years to come."

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