NFL teams have multiple options when it comes to how they handle existing contracts, big or small.
They can terminate the contract early, as they did with Bobbie Williams when they eliminated his scheduled $1.2 million base salary for this year. Or they can try to restructure and extend deals to lessen the salary-cap impact. However, Newsome emphasized during the Ravens' season-ending news conference that the team is generally averse to restructuring contracts. The Ravens did restructure contracts last year that lowered salary-cap figures for Yanda and strong safety Bernard Pollard.
"We are not going to be restructuring contracts and do all of those different things to be able just to maintain this team to make another run," Newsome said. "We're not doing that. That doesn't mean that we don't want to try to go and repeat."
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But the options have to make sense for all sides. Before last season, Cary Williams declined the Ravens' three-year, $15 million contract extension because he believed he was worth more.
Operating the salary cap is regarded as a series of choices for NFL teams.
“Good teams always find a way to make it happen, and then there are other teams who watch it happen
and don't know what's happening,” said Harold Lewis, Cary Williams' agent. “The Ravens make it happen and are constantly in championship games and in that first category. Other teams complain when they have a top player that they have champagne tastes, but can only afford beer prices. It all comes back to how much you want to spend on that player.
“We're looking forward to seeing how other teams feel about Cary Williams. He would absolutely
love to be back with the Ravens, if the numbers are close. If there's a huge discrepancy, then sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Sometimes, the highest numbers aren't the best place for your player because it's about comfort level and confidence level and system familiarity. It has to work for both sides.”
After starting every game and making a career-high 75 tackles, four interceptions and 17 pass deflections, the 2008 Tennessee Titans seventh-round draft pick doesn't hold any regrets.
Even though Cary Williams is likely headed to another NFL city, a large payday awaits him.
"My time with the Ravens has been a great time, and we both benefited from the decision I made," Cary Williams said. "At the end of the day, it's a business. We won a Super Bowl, and not a lot of players get to experience that. It was an incredible run. I'm blessed to be in this position. It's been a long time coming, and it's something I've always aspired to, to set your family up for life."