While restructured contracts for defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and cornerback Lardarius Webb are more immediate concerns for the Ravens' front office entering the 2015 season, the exorbitant salary cap figure looming for quarterback Joe Flacco's contract in 2016 has already received attention.
His salary cap number is set to nearly double, from $14.55 million in 2015 to $28.55 million in 2016, and general manager Ozzie Newsome said dealing with that situation was already a topic of conversation among the team's brain trust.
"Part of the discussion that we have down in Florida, we not only talk about the current year, but we talk about the years going forward," Newsome said Tuesday, referring to the trip to visit owner Steve Bisciotti that he, president Dick Cass, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta, vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty, and coach John Harbaugh make every winter.
"We've already addressed that to a certain degree," he said. "We've had a chance to look at what 2016 would look like, you know, projecting how many draft choices would make our team. But we'll be prepared to deal with Joe at that number when we get there."
When Joe Flacco signed the record-setting six-year, $120.6 million contract in 2013 in the wake of the team's Super Bowl XLVII victory, the final three years of that deal appeared so onerous that it was hard to envision Flacco playing under such circumstances. Those three years carry salary cap hits of $28.55 million, $31.15 million and $24.75 million.
That essentially made the contract a three-year, $62 million deal, with unmanageable salary cap figures for the final three years making restructuring necessary.
Since Flacco signed it, plenty of quarterbacks have surpassed his annual value of $20.1 million, including Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
Other deals with high sticker prices have also been signed, and the backlash to those deals have made it imperative to look at the fine print to see what teams and players will actually be on the hook for.
All of that's a long way to say that the Ravens knew that cap figure was on the horizon in 2013, and are likely to restructure and free up some more money for Flacco's supporting cast in 2016.
Baltimore Sun reporter Aaron Wilson contributed to this article.