Q and Jones are going to surely get extended. I can't see Ozzie cutting them.
We will probably lose Kruger, Williams, Reed, maybe McKinnie. Birk, Lewis, are retiring.
It's not nearly as dire as some may think, there is a lot of room for restructuring down the line.
The best thing is the AFCN is still our division to win. The Steelers are a mediocre team that is in much worse cap shape, the Browns are still a ways away, and the Bengals are ok, but not quite in our league.
Sounds good in theory. His stock is very high right now. He may want to roll the dice that he gets a new three year deal with more guaranteed.
I'm not as concerned with the offense. Birk retires and Gradkowski steps in. Resign McKinney and we have the same line next year with the exception of Birk. LT is my biggest concern and my worst nightmare is Oher going back there. Restructure Boldin and Jones if possible. We'll see about Dickson but if we lose him I'm not going to panic. Leech is a luxury at this point.
The defense will lose starters. Ray, probably Ed and Williams too. Lose Ellerbe and we're up to 4 starters and have to fill in both inside LB positions, I'm hoping they keep him. I agree with most, although Krueger is our best pass rusher they probably are not going to be able to keep him. Upshaw should be ready by next year but not as effective as a pass rusher. Art Jones is a RFA too. I wasn't impressed with the NT play and we were vulnerable for much of the year against the run. Cornerback we'll be fine at without Williams with Webb returning and hopefully Smith improving. My biggest concerns are ILB, FS and line.
Watching the SB, Ed Reed covered up several mistakes by linebackers and DBs. Hope we can keep him around another year
I think they need to do everything they can to extend Boldin//Jones/Mckinnie(seriously). Ravens made this SB on the strength of their receivers and they need to keep this group together for the next 2-3 years. Even if it means key losses on defense. This is Joe's team now. They have to surround him with the best talent they can and rebuild the defense through the draft.
After Joe I feel the priorities are as follows:
Find a way to resign Kruger and Ellerbee
Find a way to retain both Boldin and Jacoby by restructuring their contacts, I don't think Doss, Thompson or Streeter are ready to step up
I'm confident our FO will do what's necessary to reload and continue to be a legitimate contender. It should be interesting to see how the Ravens respond to the huge leadership vacuum Ray Lewis leaves behind.
A few thoughts...
I think Ed Reed comes back, based off what Harbaugh alluded to a few times in regards to their conversation on the way back on the bus. Plus what Ed said today, it's clear his heart in stitched onto this city. I also think losing him and Ray at once is too much of a leadership loss for this defense that is filled with many young players.
We need to extend Flacco and avoid the franchise tag.
Re-signing Ellerbe is a no-brainer.
Keep Kruger if we can, if not, whatever.
Peace Cary Williams.
To those saying not to tender Ed Dickson, couldn't disagree more. He is the most talented tight end on the team, and once Cam got fired, we started to see how effective he can be once again.
Re-structure/extend Boldin, Suggs, and Jacoby.
After extending Joe I think they'll keep Ellerbe and Ed. I'd love to keep Kruger but we just cannot do it. At least we have Upshaw, McClellan, Hamilton, and McAdoo. Will our pass rush drop off a bit? Yes, but maybe they add a pure rusher in the mid rounds? Upshaw should blossom like Kruger by year 3 or 4. Cary's stepped up his play, he'll earn a big contract from another team. I agree that keeping Ed helps maintain some leadership and he's still pretty good. I hope he can retire a Raven. Ellerbe is a bit cheaper being that he's an ILB compared to Kruger, who's an OLB. Also, we don't have much at all if Ellerbe leaves. With him back, he's in his prime, I see him being one of the leaders of the defense for the next few years.
As far as FA, well... that'll be it, BUT this team isn't depleted by any stretch. We MUST keep Boldin and Jones, two huge pieces of this team. I think extending them for another year or two would be smart. I am in favor of keeping McKinnie on a 1 year contract. It gives us insurance for at least one more season. We can pick a developmental tackle relatively early too. I also would be interested in retaining James Ihedigbo, a physical presence on ST's.
As far as the draft, we can expect a lot of defense and it's a perfect time to have 11 picks. We need to get back to playing solid run defense. We desperately need another impact DL to take pressure off of Ngata. Art Jones has stepped up as the other 34 end starter with McPhee spelling as a pass rusher, but we are weak at NT. We also need a tackling machine at ILB, obviously. If we have to keep McClain for another season, so be it, at least he's been with us for awhile and is a leader. Josh Bynes is a capable backup, but adding a young presence here would be big. Personally I like Kevin Minter, Khasheem Greene, Gerald Hodges and Te'o (if he drops in the 2nd). We also could use another pass rusher at some point with a safety and depth CB. Ozzie is so good at finding gems whether they be unknown vets from other teams or UDFA's. I'm confident we'll field another playoff team with the offense leading the charge.
Jacoby and Q must be extended.
Both of them bring a fearless attitude to this offense.
I actually think we should be taking the Bengals seriously, they will be more threatening than the Steelers IMO.
Keep in mind that the cap is going to be roughly $121 million. They have $101.6 million tied up into ten players for next year (Roethlisberger, Polamalu, Woodley, Timmons, Keisel, Colon, Clark, Ike Taylor, Miller, Harrison) Eight of those 10 players will be in their 30s next year.
Here's the funny part. They were cash strapped against the 2012 cap to the point that they restructured a couple of contracts. Now, just in those 10 players above, they are looking at $39.8 million in salary increases from '12 to '13. That's not counting all their 1st-3rd year players who will all be getting raises next year as well. They also don't have that many contracts coming off the books to offset those increases. Wallace ($2.7 in 2012), Foote ($3.6 in 2012), and Hampton ($4.9 in 2012) are the only help they get in that department.
Know what is even more painful? They have just shy of $39 million tied up in dead money to those nine players just for 2013. That's not even true dead money, because, if they wanted to cut someone, they'd have to pay future dead money as well.
So their dead money amount for their 1-10 highest paid players is roughly comparable to what we are paying in full salary/bonuses to our 3-12 players (excluding Ngata and Suggs).
Cutting Harrison (age 35 in 2013) would save $6.57 but would also cost them $4.93 in dead money.
Cutting Ike Taylor would save $6 million in 2013 salary, but they would also be saddled with nearly $7 million in dead money from his final two years.
Cutting Willie Colon would save $5.5 million , but he is due roughly $6.4 in dead money over the final 3 years of his contract.
These aging Steelers weren't particularly good last year, aren't getting any younger or healthier, and are too backloaded with their contracts to be able to make any sense in actually cutting them.
What the Steelers could do is either:
a) cut the heck out of their roster, eat all that dead money, and try to use whatever is left to find a free agent or two. However, not too many of those contracts are cut friendly. Woodley, Timmons, and Roethlisberger each have over $10 million in future dead money. These might be the 3 worth saving out of those ten. Ryan Clark's contract isn't too bad either. They would part ways with everyone else, keep a few pivotal veterans, and load up on young players. That's a tall task though, because Pouncey and Antonio Brown are really the only two recent draft picks who have done much for them.
b) restructure to work on clearing that $30-$40 million off the books and pushing it into 2014, when the cap is much larger. This is the route I hope they go because it would keep these aging, past-their-prime players around for even longer to the point that it might diminish their chances of success for even longer.
Either route they opt to take leaves them as the 4th best team in the AFC North for probably at least the next two seasons. I like it.
I came across the salary cap figures for all 32 teams while I was reading around Bleacher Report. I know it's not the most credible of places, but that being said I looked at the 28 teams in contention for our defensive UFAs this offseason. (I didn't even bother looking at the Steelers, Patriots, or 49ers because I just don't see any of our players leaving for either of the three teams). I assumed that we re-sign Ed Reed. I was trying to see which teams are the best fit for Kruger, Cary, and Ellerbe and their likely destinations based on opposing team salaries, needs, etc.
I think 11 teams won't be in play for any of our (or maybe any) FAs because of low/negative cap numbers- Cards, Falcons, Cowboys, Lions, Panthers, Saints, NYG, Jets, Raiders, Rams, Skin.
The Dolphins, Browns, Bengals, and Colts have SO much cap room they could go after anybody.
I looked at the remaing teams' salaray cap, UFAs, RFAs, current players, needs etc. :
Bills- They have a a good chunk of money to spend, but with Byrd, Levitre, and McKelvin all hitting free agency, they have their own issues to solve. Ellerbe is the only player they would really covert, but they won't throw money at Ellerbe after last seasons defensive splurge. They're looking for a franchise QB.
Bears- They don't need a corner or a pass rushers. They need ILB with Urlacher and Roach possibly leaving. Their focus should be geared more towards that offensive line and I can't really see the Bears making a play on our defensive guys.
Broncos- Ryan Clady, two free agent CBs . They don't need pass rushers. Their MLB position is vacant so Ellerbe could fit there. They will invest a good amount of money on Clady and have their own depth positions to fill. I can't see them being big FA players. Their team is already good no need to make a splash.
Green Bay- They got Clay Mathews. They have to resign Shields at corner, he's pretty good. They had Brad Jones at the ILB spot playing pretty well this year. They could use a guy like Kruger, but they don't have much cap space to work with. They need a center and I just don't see them going for a big defensive FA.
Texans- They have a good amount of cap space and not many UFAs to sign. Their pass rush is one of the best in the league, they don't really need Kruger. They have to resign Glover Quin (safety) and their CB's are solid. Ellerbe would be a great fit for them next to Cushing, but I think Ellerbe is looking to be the number one linebacker.
Jags- They got money and they're pathetic. They would pay Cary and Kruger top dollar.
Chiefs- Another team with some money to spend. CB isn't a position I think the Chiefs are looking to address. They have some UFAs of their own, but no one special or pressing. Derrick Johnson could use a side kick, but like the Texans Ellerbe isn't looking to play in another LB's shadow. Kruger would be a great fit for KC, they need some pass rushers that unit was pathetic this past season.
Vikings- They have good pass rushers and don't really need Krugker, but they would love a player like Ellerbe. Seeing as how Winfield is almost as old as Ray, an upgrade at corner could be in order. With some money to play with, Vikings could make some FA noise.
Eagles- From what I understand they don't have much cap to play with (IDK how Vick's potential release etc. impacts their salary cap, but yea). They're switching to the 3-4, so all our defensive players make sense in Philly except Cary (they have Nnamdi and the young guy Boykin). However, I feel as if Chip Kelly will focus his efforts on the offense and the draft. The free agency splurges of the past two seasons for the Eagles have backfired and I think they might cool it back this offseason.
SD- I could see any of our 3 UFAs going to SD. A lot of Ravens have ventured to SD recently.
Seattle- I don't see Kruger, Ellerbe, or Cary in Seattle. Seattle's defense was one of the best in the league and they're strong at every position. They do however, have a good chunk of money to spend. I see them spending more on depth rather than FA starters.
Bucs- They have a lot of money. They need to resign Michael Bennet because it seemed as if he was their entire pass rush last season. Clayborn is still young and they don't need Kruger. However, if they can't resign Micahel Bennet I could see them going after Kruger. Ellerbe doesn't really have a place on the team, but Cary Williams does. Without Talib their CBs were pretty bad. They need two corners and they'd love to have a solid contributor like Cary.
Titans- No need for Ellerbe or Kruger. They have a solid LB core and Wimbley and Morgan on the edge. I could see Cary returning to his old team cause they're thin at CB.
Now looking at each individual player:
Most likely suitors- Vikings, Chargers, Bengals, Colts
Less likely suitors- Bills, Broncos, Eagles
Most likely suitors- Jags, Chiefs, Chargers, Browns, Colts
Less likely suitors- Eagles
Most likely suitors- Jags, Chargers, Colts, Vikings, Bucs, Titans, Dolphins
I personally think that with the amount of quality free agents availble this offseason we may be able to retain Ellerbe, Kruger, and Cary for cheaper than we think. There aren't many teams in play for each of those guys because of salary cap issues, already having players at the position, etc.
Some awesome detail in this thread for those of us who have limited knowledge of the cap situation, thanks.
So, question to those of you who seem to understand the intricacies of the cap (because I damn sure don't): based on the pure numbers/dollars, what are the chances of Reed being back next year?
I don't think we should put much effort into keeping Cary. Corey Graham and Webb are both clearly better, Chykie will probably be better this time next year, and a healthy Jimmy Smith is without a doubt better as well.