Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis has reached a crossroads in his legendary career.
With his right triceps torn and in need of surgical repair, the 37-year-old former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and future Hall of Fame selection has a decision to make about whether he'll retire or continue to play and launch a comeback, which is what teammates like inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe expect.
Ellerbe put it this way: "He ain't going to go out like that."
Regardless of Lewis' plans, the Ravens will have to make contingency plans of their own going forward.
That includes deciding how they want to allocate their spending on the position.
If Lewis isn't on the roster next year, here's the impact:
Signed to a six-year, $42.5 million contract that runs through the 2015 season, Lewis is due base salaries of $5.4 million in 2013, $5.85 million in 2014 and $6.3 million in 2015.
That includes corresponding salary-cap figures of $7.3 million, $6.5 million and $6.7 million in those years for the 13-time Pro Bowl selection.
So, if the Ravens were to cut Lewis or he retired after this season and they timed all of the acceleration of the remaining proration of his $6.25 million signing bonus, option bonus of $1.25 million and second option bonus of $2 million, they would realize a total salary-cap savings of $4.35 million for the 2013 NFL fiscal year with no future dead money.
The time for these decisions isn't now, but after the season the Ravens' front office and coaching staff will have a lot to mull over involving Lewis.