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Late For Work 8/28: Restructuring A Deal? What Is Ozzie Newsome Up To?


Restructuring A Deal? What Is Ozzie Up To?

What is Ozzie Newsome up to?

The Ravens almost never restructure players' contracts. They hate doing it. That is the oft-repeated lesson learned after trying to keep the Super Bowl XXXV team together.

When will Newsome do it? As a "last resort," Newsome said in Feb. of 2013.

"The only time we consider restructuring guys' deals is [if] there is a player that comes available that we think has great value and is worth us restructuring a deal to get it done," he said at the time. "But it has to be a player that we think has a pretty good chance of playing out his contract, because that's when you get in trouble. If you restructure a deal, then all the sudden that player's abilities fall off the cliff and you have to let him go, then you have to eat all that acceleration right away." 

Well, Newsome reportedly restructured cornerback Lardarius Webb's contract yesterday. He cleared an extra $3 million to boost the overall salary cap space to about $7 million, according to multiple reports, including The Baltimore Sun.

And now he has minds spinning.

"[The move] certainly raises a red flag," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley.  "[T]he Ravens presumably have something in mind with that extra $3 million in cap room … While nobody knows the Ravens' plans yet, we do know that the Ravens are doing something that they try to avoid. Why the Ravens don't like restructuring deals is because it bloats the salary-cap numbers for future years."

Per reports, the Ravens converted $3 million of Webb's $7.5 million base salary into a bonus that will be spread out over future years. The Sun's Aaron Wilson breaks down the cap figures:

2014: $10 million -----> $7.5 million
2015: $11 million -----> $12 million
2016: $11 million -----> $12 million
2017: $9.5 million ----> $10.5 million

So the Ravens created room this year, but at the expense of $1 million per year for the next three years.

"This is why the restructuring of Webb's contract makes you wonder what the Ravens are planning," Hensley wrote.

After reports of the move surfaced,'s Josh Alper thought the Ravens might have wanted the extra cap space to sign current Ravens to extensions, including Haloti Ngata, Torrey Smith and Justin Tucker.

Would Newsome want to extend any of those players badly enough to trigger his "last resort" of restructuring? Extensions usually free up cap space, like it did with Terrell Suggs this offseason.

There are more questions than answers. Let the speculation continue.

Hensley: Cox Doesn't Solve Problem At Corner

Journeyman cornerback Derek Cox was signed yesterday, making the Ravens his fourth team in the last two years.

While the Ravens are banged up at the position with their top three corners nursing injuries, bringing in Cox "does little to solve their issues," wrote Hensley.

It appears Cox will compete with Asa Jackson, Chykie Brown and Dominique Franks for a roster spot, which makes tonight's preseason matchup with the New Orleans Saints "a little more interesting" says's Clifton Brown.

Playing in 63 games over the last five years, Cox brings more experience to the table than Jackson and Brown. And Hensley calls Cox an "upgrade" over Franks.

"But it remains unclear whether Cox will make the final roster, let alone be trusted to potentially leapfrog Asa Jackson and Chykie Brown on the depth chart," wrote WNST's Luke Jones.

Added Hensley: "[N]obody should think the Ravens have adequately addressed cornerback, the biggest weakness on the team. Based on Cox's recent track record, it's a risk for the Ravens to go with him as their No. 3 corner, just as it would be to stick an inexperienced Jackson or Brown there."

Comedy Central: Training With Terrell Suggs

My stomach hurts from laughing.

Just watch.

Josh Gordon Suspension Cripples Browns Offense

Cleveland Browns star and league-leading wide receiver Josh Gordon had his appeal of a one-year suspension denied after violating the league's substance abuse policy.

The Ravens don't have to defend him at all in 2014.

That's music to the ears of an injury-riddled Ravens cornerback corps. It's not like the Ravens couldn't have done it. After all, Brown only had six catches for 98 yards and no touchdowns in his three career games against Baltimore. But it's one less thing to worry about.

And the loss could potentially cripple the Browns offense.

"Nothing we've seen from the Cleveland Browns this summer suggests an offense capable of surviving the one-year suspension of Josh Gordon," wrote's Marc Sessler.

"Losing the league's leading wide receiver wouldn't be easy for any team, but it's especially disastrous for this Kyle Shanahan attack bereft of pass-catchers and missing the most important piece of all: dependable play at the quarterback position."

Oddsmakers Give The Over-Under On Ravens Players

Sportsbook Bovada released its Ravens season player props, giving the over-under on several players, and the numbers are interesting.

Vegas doesn't like to lose, so it chooses its numbers carefully, trying to put them as close as possible to what the real outcome will be.

I'm not a gambler, but if I were, I'd take the over on quarterback Joe Flacco's passing yards and Steve Smith's receiving yards.

What do you think?

Joe Flacco - Total Passing Yards in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under                               3800                           

Joe Flacco - Total Passing Touchdowns in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under                               22½

Joe Flacco - Total Interceptions thrown in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under                               15½

Torrey Smith - Total Receiving Yards in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under                               1000½

Torrey Smith - Total Receiving Touchdowns in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under                               6½

Steve Smith - Total Receiving Yards in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under                               750½

Steve Smith - Total Receiving Touchdowns in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under                               4½

Dennis Pitta - Total Receiving Yards in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under                               675

Dennis Pitta - Total Receiving Touchdowns in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under                               5½

Elvis Dumervil - Total Sacks in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under                               9

Terrell Suggs - Total Sacks in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under                               9

Quick Hits

  • Chris Burke looks at which NFL players might be on the brink of stardom, and he believes running back [Bernard Pierceinternal-link-placeholder-0] may be in store for a breakout season. "Cleveland's Ben Tate can thank [Gary Kubiak] for the starting shot (and $6.2 million contract) he was handed this offseason. Tate rushed for 942 yards as a rookie in 2011, then topped 700 on the ground last season, taking advantage of the opportunity to shoulder the load when Arian Foster was out of the lineup. Pierce finds the door open in similar fashion to start 2014, with Ray Rice suspended for Weeks 1 and 2." []
  • What is the Ravens'* *best-kept secret? "The Ravens feel like they can be an extremely effective screen team, which will surprise teams that regularly play Baltimore," wrote Hensley. [ESPN]
  • Tyrod Taylor is ready to make the most of his final preseason start. [The Baltimore Sun]

If I'm holding my baby and you try to reach out to grab him...I will stiff arm you  — Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) August 27, 2014

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