Still a lot of questions about Ravens' possible CBA violation

Left to right, #46 Cavellis Luckett, #35 Shareece Wright, #7 Ryan Mallett and #81 Chris Moore, train during the rookie minicamp at Under Armour Performance Center.
Left to right, #46 Cavellis Luckett, #35 Shareece Wright, #7 Ryan Mallett and #81 Chris Moore, train during the rookie minicamp at Under Armour Performance Center. (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)

There are still too many questions about the Ravens potential violation of the collective bargaining agreement during the recent rookie minicamp to know how hard the league could eventually come down on the team.

This is what we know: The Ravens acknowledge players were in full pads for about five minutes during a non-contact punt protection drill, which is against CBA rules. Fully-padded practices are not permitted during the rookie minicamp or the organized team activities.


The Ravens claim they weren't fully aware the same rules that govern OTAs also apply to the rookie minicamp. However, they said when they realized they might be violating the CBA, they contacted their players' union representative, Benjamin Watson, and stopped the drill. Once it was confirmed they were in violation, they had players take their shoulder pads off and they resumed the drill.

Either the league or the NFL Players association was tipped off by what transpired and the NFL is now investigating the Ravens. Some form of discipline appears likely.

This is what we don't know: Will the practice video the league is reviewing clearly confirm the Ravens' version of events?

Will the NFL buy the Ravens' explanation that the team didn't knowingly violate the CBA and instead erred out of confusion? An ESPN report yesterday indicated the league believes the Ravens did know the rules.

If the Ravens weren't aware of the rules, which have been in place for several years, was this the first time they've had players in pads at the rookie minicamp?

And finally, how – and when – will the league respond to the Ravens' gaffe?

The final question is the one generating the most speculation. I'm told there's no timetable for the decision, but you'd think the NFL will want to make a ruling before the Ravens have their first OTA next week.

As for the level of discipline, that will undoubtedly depend on what the league's investigation reveals.

There is a precedence of teams getting fined and forced to forfeit OTA or minicamp practices. In 2007, the Oakland Raiders canceled their final week of the offseason program after the union believed then-coach Lane Kiffin violated CBA rules with how he was running the on-field offseason workouts.

In 2010, the Ravens were dinged for a similar indiscretion, and they were forced to forfeit their final week of OTAs.

Two years ago, the Seattle Seahawks were ordered to cancel two future minicamp practices and coach Pete Carroll and the organization were fined more than $300,000 because of a violation with the amount of contact the team had during offseason practices.

Depending on what the league finds, the Ravens' discipline could look much like what the Seahawks got. Fines and a forfeiture of at least one of the OTAs have been constants in these situations. According to Pro Football Talk, the CBA stipulates the offending team would only lose draft picks if it committed multiple violations in the same year.

So the Ravens could dodge that bullet, but any way you look at it, this is a bad look for the organization. It also falls into the category of a self-inflicted distraction.