Quote Originally Posted by LukeDaniel View Post
Jones saves $4 million
Leach saves $3 million ($7 total)
Williams saves $1.2 million ($8.2)
McClain saves $1.8 ($10)
Birk saves $2 ($12)
Lewis saves $3.7 ($15.7)
Ayanabdejo saves $940k ($16.6)

What you have to understand is that is that trimming these 7 contracts off the roster doesn't save the $16.6 though, because you still have to fill their seven spots on the rule of 51 with another player. If you estimate that each of those players will make $500k, that's $3.5 right there. So the savings aren't quite as great. It's not as if dead money occupies one of the 51 slots.

That's why it might not make a ton of sense to cut Ayanbadejo. You really are only saving $400k.

That's also why it might not make sense to cut Jameel either. You can either pay him $4.2 towards 2013 or cut him and still pay $2.4 in dead money. If you assume that his replacement spot on the roster will be filled by a cheap rookie, the true savings is only $1.3 million

If you want to get a true cap savings by cutting a player, add $500 back on to the total. That is the total that is saved if replaced by a rookie/2nd year/ERFA on the 51 salary cap roster.

Now, the plus side is that when you sign a free agent not on your roster, the cap hit isn't as severe. If you sign Player A and his first year cap # is $3.25 million, the actual increase would be around $2.75 million because his addition to the rule of 51 will push a player who was making $500k off the roster.
Very nice breakdown and a succinct, accurate, and helpful way of characterizing the frequently-disregarded rule of 51 and its impact on the cap. Ayanbadejo and McClain aren't going anywhere. The rest are viable cuts IMO.

The bottom line is that it's really not possible to know what the Ravens' offseason plans (and the 2013 roster) will include until Joe Flacco is secured for 2013. There are indications that the team will go all out to lock Flacco up long-term as soon as the new league year opens, and if that happens then we'll be able to work off of that. But if they don't get anything done and need to franchise him, I actually doubt they'll be able to sign a single FA, whether extending their own guys or signing guys off the street.

The tag is going to completely obliterate their cap space unless and until an extension is reached. If that's late in the offseason or even after the season opener, they're going to miss out on free agency apart from picking up a few scrap heapers after final cuts. That's not necessarily a huge problem, frankly, but as I've been saying all along, the 2013 draft is going to be the most important in a very long time (they're all important, of course.)

If my "worst-case" scenario of entering the season with Flacco under the tag comes to fruition, they will likely be looking to draftees to compete for starting jobs at several positions: FS, ILB, and LT for sure, and possibly WR as well. This year we had 2 rookies play substantial/starter level snaps: KO and Courtney Upshaw. Next year it could be as many as 4, depending on who wins jobs out of training camp.