Salary-cap update: Ravens are very limited

April, 2, 2012
4/02/12
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When it comes to the current salary-cap situations for the AFC North teams (recent figures were released on the league's official website), it's certainly a case of The Haves and The Have Nots.

The Baltimore Ravens rank third in the smallest amount of cap space remaining. Only the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints have less cap room than the Ravens, who are $1.7 million under.

Baltimore knows what needs to be done in order to free up some cap room -- get new deals completed with quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice. Flacco ($8 million cap number) and Rice ($7.7 million franchise tag) account for 12 percent of the team's salary cap.

It's a win-win situation for both sides. The Ravens sign their two best offensive players for the long term and the players get rewarded with new deals.

The difficult part is trying to agree on each player's worth. Flacco will likely get an average of $13 million per season (perhaps a six-year deal in the $80 million range), and Rice will probably get something similar to Houston's Arian Foster ($43.5 million over five years).

“The quicker we sign them, the quicker we free up salary-cap space,” Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti told the team's official website last week. “So there’s an urgency there.”

Unlike the Ravens, the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns are among the teams with the most cap space in the NFL.

The Bengals have the most ($20.5 million under) and the Browns have the fourth-most ($18.5 million). There are four teams in the league with at least $18.5 million in cap room: the Bengals, Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars ($20.2 million) and Seattle Seahawks ($18.9 million).

The Pittsburgh Steelers, who began the offseason in the worst cap situation of any team in the AFC North, sit the middle of the league in cap space. The Steelers are $5.8 million under the cap, which ranks 17th in cap space.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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