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9 Ravens who could be potential salary cap casualties this offseason

Ravens Wire logo Ravens Wire 1/9/2019 Matthew Stevens
a man wearing a helmet holding a baseball bat: Getty © Getty Getty

The Baltimore Ravens are entering the offseason with plenty of questions. With and older roster, Baltimore could begin a rebuilding period now in order to hopefully match up with quarterback Lamar Jackson's maturation as a player. If that's the case, the Ravens could decide to turn over a good portion of their roster in the offseason to give themselves a big boost to their available cap space.

Heading into this offseason, there are nine players who could be big salary cap casualties. If this entire list is released, it would free up an estimated $52.8 million on the 2019 salary cap, according to Over The Cap, giving Baltimore $84.571 million in available cap space.

Let's take a look at the nine potential cap casualties we could see this offseason for the Ravens. We'll start with the biggest one:

Joe Flacco - QB | Cap savings: $10.5 million

Flacco is more likely to be in another uniform next season than back in Baltimore. His $26.5 million cap hit is just far too much for a backup quarterback, which is what he'd be slated as with Jackson starting.

While I personally think it's more likely Flacco is traded in the offseason, rather than straight-up released, it'll still mark a huge savings for Baltimore they just can't pass up.

Jimmy Smith - CB | Cap savings: $9.5 million

Smith has had an up-and-down career filled with injuries and suspensions. Though Smith played up to an All-Pro level in 2017, a four-game suspension in 2018 and coming off an Achilles injury left him far shy of that level of production last season. Smith's chances of staying in Baltimore are also hurt by the caliber of play from cornerback Marlon Humphrey and special attention paid to the position throughout the draft in recent years.

On the final year of his deal, Smith could sign an extension that lowers his 2019 cap hit. But it would take the Ravens believing he can still be a top cornerback in the NFL to do so. I believe the cap savings are just too much for Baltimore to pass up when considering Smith's injury history and the depth at cornerback.

Marshal Yanda - G | Cap savings: $7 million

Yanda is also on the final year of his deal at near the end of his career. Unlike Smith, Yanda bounced back from injury well and was once again the best offensive lineman on the team. However, a cap hit of $10.125 million is a lofty amount for a player who will be 35 years old when the season starts.

Much like Smith, the Ravens could give Yanda an extension to lower his cap hit in 2019 and allow him to retire with the team. But Baltimore would have to believe Yanda can stay healthy, which hasn't been his strong suit in recent years - missing 17 games over the last three seasons.

Michael Crabtree - WR | Cap savings: $4.67 million

Crabtree was a complete disappointment for the Ravens this season. Consistent issues catching the ball and getting open made him a liability more often than a weapon for an offense that once again was stagnant. Crabtree holds a $9.3 million cap hit in 2019, which is what you'd expect out of a far more productive player.

Luckily, Crabtree's deal was designed to be broken off this offseason if he didn't pan out. With Jackson now at the helm, attention could be paid towards the 2019 NFL draft to groom a young wide receiver at a far cheaper price tag. Wide receivers are also frequent on the free agent market, where Baltimore could find a better deal.

Eric Weddle - S | Cap savings: $7.5 million

As Weddle noted while cleaning out his locker at the end of the season, he'll either return for the final year of his contract if the Ravens want him, or he'll retire if they don't. Though Weddle is a fan favorite and is a great on-field coach, he's been a liability in coverage more frequently in 2018.

With such a big cap savings, Baltimore could be in the running for a top free agent safety at near the same price point. Safety is also a position the Ravens will likely address in the 2019 NFL draft, making it really difficult to see Weddle return next season.

Brandon Carr - CB | Cap savings: $5 million

Many fans wanted Carr gone last offseason but was kept on for additional depth, which was needed with Smith's four-game suspension. Carr played well in 2018, especially down the stretch but was getting edged out by Smith and Humphrey.

Much like Smith, the amount of depth the Ravens have at cornerback makes Carr a potential cap casualty. However, at only a $5 million savings, Baltimore could wait until after the draft to determine if they need him or if they've adequately replaced him via free agency or the draft.

Anthony Levine Sr. - DB | Cap savings: $1.5 million

Levine likely isn't going to be among the first or even second wave of cuts. A floater all along the secondary, Levine can play in coverage, come down in the run like a linebacker and is also useful on special teams. But Levine was already a player who was on the roster bubble last season and with Chuck Clark playing well in 2018, he's a potential late cap casualty.

The $1.5 million savings isn't much but it all adds up and can be important either for smaller injury signings or as a roll over for 2020. If Levine is cut, it would be more likely to happen after the draft.

Willie Snead - WR | Cap savings: $4 million

Snead had a good season as a slot receiver in Baltimore's scheme. He saw Jackson warm up to him at the end of the season and actually led the team in receptions. But much like Crabtree, drops plagued his entire season. Given the Ravens gutted their entire wide receiver core last offseason partially thanks to their inability to catch, Snead is far from safe.

It also doesn't help that $4 million of his $5 million contract would be regained if he's cut. Don't forget Baltimore also selected two wide receivers in the 2018 NFL draft and could decide to go with them next season. With Baltimore clearly in a run-heavy scheme, there could be a decision to once again start fresh at wide receiver via free agency and the draft, and save a little money at the same time.

Sam Koch - P | Cap savings: $3.15 million

Releasing Koch would be as much a cap casualty as anyone in the league. Koch is unquestionably one of the best punters in the NFL, known for his accuracy and ability to pin teams deep. But Baltimore was set to keep Kaare Vedvik before his gruesome assault put him on the reserve/non-football injury list.

Koch is one of the highest-paid punters in the league for a good reason. But with a $3.15 million cap savings, the Ravens might decide to pull the trigger on him and move to Vedvik instead.

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