Ravens’ star defensive lineman Haloti Ngata was suspended for the final four games of the regular season earlier this week for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. This is a significant blow to the team’s immediate playoff hopes, as the team’s defensive strength was in the front seven.
Here are some notes from the fallout following Ngata’s suspension:
- The Ravens replaced Ngata on the active roster with tight end Phillip Supernaw, as we reported yesterday her on Pro Football Rumors.
- Ravens’ second-round pick Timmy Jernigan will receive a large uptick in snap count in Ngata’s absence, reports Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Jernigan was one of the best players on the national championship winning defense at Florida State last year.
- Wilson also looks at a silver lining of the suspension, that the Ravens now have $6.249MM in salary cap space this season. The team is unlikely to spend that this year, but could carry that extra money over and apply it to next year’s salary cap.
- While the team is still much in the playoff hunt, John Eisenberg of BaltimoreRavens.com believes the Ngata suspension could be the difference between the team reaching the postseason or not.
- The suspension has complicated Ngata’s status with the Ravens going forward, writes Sarah Ellison of BaltimoreRavens.com. He is owed a heft $16MM in 2015, but was hoping the team would renegotiate that figure into a long term extension. Ellison also believes that the team will re-evaluate Ngata’s impressive season in light of the PED suspension.
- According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Ravens may be better off without Ngata. The team has surrendered an impressive 3.8 yards per rush with Ngata, but an excellent 3.1 yards per rush without him (via Twitter). Opposing quarterbacks have also been better with Ngata, posting a QBR of 71 against him, while that figure drops to a 47 QBR without him (via Twitter).