INDIANAPOLIS — As the Ravens continue to haggle with their unrestricted free agents, their financial situation has been upgraded.
With the salary cap for NFL teams now projected to be $130 million for the 2014 fiscal year, as reported by the NFL Network and ESPN, the Ravens are roughly $19.677 million under the limit.
That could provide them with enough financial flexibility to negotiate contract extensions for tight end Dennis Pitta, offensive tackle Eugene Monroe, middle linebacker Daryl Smith and the capability to bid on other teams' free agents. They could also absorb a $6.709 million franchise tag for Pitta if they're unable to hammer out an extension before a March 3 NFL deadline to designate a franchise player and not be in a bind where they have to necessarily cut veterans under contract like punter Sam Koch, fullback Vonta Leach and linebacker Jameel McClain.
The Ravens created $4.6 million in salary-cap room when they lowered Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs' salary-cap figure from $12.4 million for 2014 to $7.8 million under his $28.5 million contract extension
The Ravens' top 10 salary-cap figures are nose tackle Haloti Ngata ($16 million), quarterback Joe Flacco ($14.8 million), cornerback Laardarius Webb ($10.5 million), running back Ray Rice ( $8.75 million), offensive guard Marshal Yanda ($8.45 million), Suggs ($7.8 million), inside linebacker Jameel McClain ($4.4 million), outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil ($3.375 million), defensive tackle Chris Canty ($3.166 million) and Koch ($2.8 million).
The free agent signing period begins March 11.
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was guardedly optimistic to learn that the salary cap will be expanding this year
"When you're trying to judge the cap, there's a different facet every day," Colbert said today at the NFL scouting combine. "You read about how the cap might be going up. You talk to an agent of your own player and maybe his market isn't what they were hoping it was going to be. There's so many moving parts between now and March 11, it's hard to nail it down. What we have to do is continue to watch it, continue to monitor it and make adjustments as need be. It's a very fluid situation we have to monitor."