Ravens Notes: Yanda, Osemele, Flacco, Tucker

Although the Ravens took care of one impending free agent contract yesterday — locking up punter Sam Koch to a five-year extension worth $18.75MM — the club’s roster still contains several key players who will head into the year on expiring contracts, writes Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. I profiled the two most prominent FAs-to-be, guards Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele, earlier this year, and Wilson adds that while no deal is imminent with either player, Osemele could end up being the odd man out given his injury history, including a significant back ailment suffered just last season.

Let’s take a look at some more notes out of Baltimore…

  • Kicker Justin Tucker is another candidate for a multi-year deal, according to Wilson, who writes that the former undrafted free agent could eventually become the highest-paid kicker in the league, garnering more than $9MM in guarantees. At the minimum, the Ravens would use the franchise tag on Tucker next season, but it sounds like the two sides would like to work to come to an agreement.
  • The Ravens are expected to attempt to restructure the contract of quarterback Joe Flacco between now and the start of the new league year in March 2016, writes Wilson within his story on Koch’s extension yesterday. The news is unsurprising, as Flacco’s 2016 cap number of $28.55MM is projected to be the second-highest in the league. Flacco obviously wouldn’t be sacrificing any money, but a simple restructure — converting a portion of his base salary into a signing bonus — should be able to give Baltimore some breathing room.
  • The primary motive in negotiating a long-term deal with Koch wasn’t to clear out cap space for 2015, per Wilson. I had included Koch among the AFC North candidates for release earlier this week, speculating that the Ravens might to like to clear out, or at least reduce, Koch’s 2015 cap charge of $3.1MM (although I ultimately predicted he would not be cut). However, Wilson reports that the extension was instead aimed at solidifying the contract status of a well-respected veteran, meaning the deal can be viewed more as a reward than a financial maneuver. (It should be noted, though, that Koch’s cap number for next year will decrease by $700K; Wilson has the entire breakdown of the deal here.)
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