Ravens Rumors

2020 NFL Cap Space, By Team

Cap management has been extra complicated in the NFL this year. After ~70 NFL players opted out of the 2020 season, teams were left with holes and plenty of available dollars to fill the gaps. At first, the ongoing uncertainty over next year’s salary cap had teams nervous about large-scale commitments. Now, it seems like we’re getting back to business as usual.

Recent deals for Saints star Alvin Kamara, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and others demonstrate the league’s long-term confidence. In turn, we’ve seen cap figures change dramatically in September.

Here’s the rundown of each team’s estimated cap space for the 2020 season, via Over The Cap:

  1. Cleveland Browns – $33.4MM
  2. New York Jets – $28.6MM
  3. Dallas Cowboys — $27.5MM
  4. New England Patriots – $26.3MM
  5. Washington Football Team – $25.8MM
  6. Denver Broncos – $25.7MM
  7. Jacksonville Jaguars – $25.2MM
  8. Philadelphia Eagles – $20MM
  9. Detroit Lions – $18MM
  10. Miami Dolphins – $16.7MM
  11. Baltimore Ravens – $14.2MM
  12. Los Angeles Chargers – $11.8MM
  13. Cincinnati Bengals – $11.6MM
  14. Arizona Cardinals – $11.4MM
  15. Indianapolis Colts – $11.3MM
  16. San Francisco 49ers – $11.2MM
  17. Pittsburgh Steelers – $10.9MM
  18. Chicago Bears – $9.9MM
  19. New York Giants – $9.6MM
  20. Houston Texans – $9.6MM
  21. Tennessee Titans – $9.4MM
  22. New Orleans Saints – $8.8MM
  23. Green Bay Packers – $8.7MM
  24. Los Angeles Rams – $7.7MM
  25. Las Vegas Raiders – $7.4MM
  26. Carolina Panthers – $6.9MM
  27. Kansas City Chiefs – $6.6MM
  28. Buffalo Bills – $6.5MM
  29. Seattle Seahawks – $6.2MM
  30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $3.7MM
  31. Atlanta Falcons – $3.3MM
  32. Minnesota Vikings – $2MM

Ravens Tried To Trade For Yannick Ngakoue

The Ravens have made several attempts to upgrade their pass rushing corps this offseason. In addition to a creative sign-and-trade attempt to land Jadeveon Clowney, which was nixed by the league, Baltimore also tried to trade for former Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

La Canfora says the Ravens and Jags were “deep in talks” and had agreed that Baltimore would send a second-round pick to Jacksonville in exchange for Ngakoue, but the Ravens’ salary cap situation ultimately prevented a deal from being completed. At the time of the trade discussions, the Ravens had roughly $6MM in cap space, and while the team did create some (perhaps temporary) room when it released Earl Thomas, Baltimore apparently was not comfortable depleting all of its reserves.

Ultimately, Ngakoue was sent to the Vikings and agreed to reduce his 2020 salary from ~$18MM to $12MM in order to facilitate the trade. The Maryland product likely would have been willing to make a similar concession to make a Ravens trade work, but even a $12MM salary would have forced Baltimore to create cap space elsewhere via restructure or extension.

The team did just create $3MM in cap space several days ago by reworking Brandon Williams‘ contract, and look for the Ravens to continue their pursuit of a pass rusher. Baltimore is said to be monitoring Ziggy Ansah, and perhaps a deal will come together after Week 1. Failing that, GM Eric DeCosta could swing a trade in advance of this year’s deadline, just as he did last year in acquiring CB Marcus Peters from the Rams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/12/20

Here are Saturday’s minor moves. Many of these roster decisions involve practice squad promotions. Under the new CBA, teams are permitted to promote two P-squad players without corresponding roster moves per week. Teams can carry 55 players on their rosters for game days and can have up to 48 active.

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Promoted: RB Nathan Cottrell, TE Ben Ellefson

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: DB Nate Brooks

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Football Team

Ravens Rework Brandon Williams’ Deal

The Ravens and defensive tackle Brandon Williams have agreed to a reworked deal that will give the team an additional $3MM in cap space (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Field Yates). Previously, Williams was set to earn $19MM over the next two years with no guaranteed cash. Now, he’ll have $8.25MM locked in with a base value of $15.75MM. 

[RELATED: Titans Beat Out Ravens, Saints For Clowney]

Williams was once among the best defensive tackles in football, but his production has slipped in recent years. He’s also been asked to move around the line, but he’s expected to play more in the middle this year. That should help the veteran get back to his old form – Pro Football Focus has him ranked as the league’s No. 91 defensive lineman from 2017-2019 on snaps played elsewhere. But, at nose tackle, he rated No. 4. He’ll go head-to-head with centers, forging a path for new teammates like Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe.

That revamped D-Line could have featured Jadeveon Clowney, but the Ravens lost out to the Titans earlier this month. According to some reports, the Ravens weren’t quite as bullish on the former No. 1 overall pick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Saints, Clowney, Bucs

Before Jadeveon Clowney signed with the Titans, the Saints attempted to orchestrate a sign-and-trade in order to land the star edge rusher — but the NFL put the kibosh on such a maneuver, as Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com write. In the proposed scenario, an unidentified team (widely believed to be the Browns) would have signed Clowney to a one-year deal with a $5MM signing bonus and a $10MM base salary.

Clowney then would have been dealt to the Saints in exchange for a second-round pick, per the NFL scribes. The mystery team would have absorbed the $5MM signing bonus on its salary cap, giving the cap-strapped Saints the breathing room they would have needed in order to acquire Clowney. But the league office gave word it wouldn’t approve a deal that amounted to trading cap space.

“We felt like we got close,” Saints head coach Sean Payton said, via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com (Twitter link). “We weren’t able to match the money, and that’s one of the challenges every year. Mickey (Loomis) and Khai (Harley) did a great job working with (Clowney’s agent).” The Ravens may have also attempted a sign-and-trade strategy to land Clowney, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk indicates Baltimore tried to arrange a similar strategy involving the Jaguars. Tennessee ultimately landed Clowney on a one-year, $13MM pact that includes $2MM in incentives.

  • Buccaneers wideout Mike Evans is dealing with a hamstring injury and could be a game-time decision for Sunday’s tilt against the Saints, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Evans ended last season on injured reserve with a hamstring issue, but he hadn’t missed any time during camp, so the injury must have flared up recently. If Evans is forced to miss Week 1, Chris Godwin could see even more targets than usual, while Justin Watson and Scotty Miller would likely become more involved in Tampa Bay’s offense.
  • The Buccaneers‘ backfield split became extremely murky following the addition of Leonard Fournette, but head coach Bruce Arians says Ronald Jones is still the club’s starter, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Of course, Arians has been anything but fully truthful when it comes to running back touches over the years, but Jones should at least get the first snap of 2020. Arians said Fournette will have a “situational role” in Week 1 (Twitter link via Pewter Report), while LeSean McCoy should still be a factor on passing downs. Tampa Bay also worked out a number of running backs, including veteran Kenjon Barner, earlier this week, tweets Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com.
  • Saints owner Gayle Benson has thankfully recovered after contracting COVID-19 in August, as Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk writes. The 73-year-old Benson was not forced to spend any time in the hospital while quarantined, and was still able to take part in team business.

Jadeveon Clowney To Sign With Titans

Just a few days before the start of the 2020 regular season, Jadeveon Clowney finally has a new home. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Clowney is signing a one-year deal with the Titans that is worth at least $12MM and that will max out at $15MM (Twitter link).

Though Clowney’s name has been a prominent part of the NFL news cycle all offseason, his market really started to pick up within the past week or so. It was reported at the end of last month that the Ravens had emerged as the frontrunners for his services, and then we learned that the Titans and Saints were pushing to sign him. The Seahawks and Browns were among the other clubs that expressed legitimate interest during Clowney’s lengthy stay on the market.

According to Dianna Russini of ESPN.com — who first reported last night that Clowney was planning to sign with Tennessee — the Saints’ offer came in about $2MM lower than the Titans’ proposal (Twitter link). Dan Graziano of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter) that New Orleans really wanted to get a deal done and even talked to veterans already on the roster about reworking their contracts to create cap room. Graziano says Seattle continued to monitor the situation but ultimately felt that a $12MM minimum payout was too rich (Twitter link). And per Albert Breer of SI.com, Clowney wanted to sign with Baltimore, but the Ravens were perhaps more lukewarm on the idea than was reported (Twitter link).

As opposed to most of the other teams that were connected to Clowney, the Titans have been involved in the process all along. They extended an offer months ago and never stopped their pursuit. Given the presence of head coach Mike Vrabel — the Texans’ LB coach and defensive coordinator during Clowney’s first four years in Houston — and Tennessee’s relative proximity to Clowney’s South Carolina home, the Titans always felt like a logical fit.

Clowney, 27, is not without his detractors. The No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 draft battled injuries in the early part of his career, and he underwent core muscle surgery this offseason. For months, teams could not bring him into their facilities to evaluate him due to COVID-19 restrictions, and (fair or not) it seems that health concerns will always be a part of his resume.

There is also the issue of his lack of sack production to consider. Clowney has never posted double-digit sacks in a season, and he mustered just three with the Seahawks last season. On the other hand, Clowney supporters will point to his ability to disrupt a passing game even without gaudy sack totals, and he can be a menace against the run as well. He earned three consecutive Pro Bowl nods from 2016-18, and the Titans hope his familiarity with Vrabel’s defense will help him return to that level of play.

It may take Clowney and fellow free agent acquisition Vic Beasley a week or two to get fully up to speed. But once they do, they will team with Harold Landry and Jeffery Simmons to form the foundation of an intriguing front seven, one that could certainly help the Titans get back to the postseason.

Clowney did not get the massive multi-year contract with a $20MM AAV that he was seeking when free agency opened, but he will have a good chance to improve his stock with the Titans. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the Titans have agreed that they will not use the franchise tag on Clowney next offseason. That same provision was worked into his Seahawks deal after he was traded to Seattle last year and may have ultimately cost him several million dollars, but he is clearly willing to bet on his ability to land a long-term pact with significant guarantees. With the 2021 salary cap expected to decrease, though, even a career-best showing this year might not be enough to get him that type of deal next offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks, Ravens Still In Mix For Jadeveon Clowney?

4:34pm: Clowney has not closed the door on a Seattle return yet. While the Saints and Titans are leading the way at this point, the Seahawks sit third on the former No. 1 overall pick’s list, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. The Seahawks were believed to have offered Clowney a deal worth around $15MM earlier this year, but as of late, the team is not believed to want to pay up for the standout defender.

3:34pm: Conflicting reports regarding the Ravens’ interest have surfaced. They are not, as of now, pursuing Clowney, according to Pro Football Talk. John Harbaugh did offer a vague statement Saturday indicating the team would have interest in a player of Clowney’s caliber, however (Twitter link via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley).

2:38pm: The Saints and Titans have emerged as the frontrunners for Jadeveon Clowney. Both teams have made strong pitches to sign the three-time Pro Bowler. But they are not the only teams pursuing him.

The Ravens loom as a wild card in this mix, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. While Baltimore has been linked to Clowney at multiple points this offseason, the reigning AFC North champions have not been viewed as aggressive suitors. However, the team still being in pursuit at this juncture is certainly notable.

A serious Ravens push for Clowney transpired a few weeks ago, per Fowler, who notes the Seahawks are not completely out of the running. However, they view their 2019 starter’s asking price as too high and are more in the monitoring stage at present.

Baltimore franchise-tagged Matt Judon and added defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe this offseason. But the Ravens relied extensively on blitzes for pressure last year and could use a bookend opposite Judon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Cut Roster To 53

The Ravens became the latest team to get down to 53, cutting a slew of players on Saturday via a team announcement. With the moves, Baltimore ended a 16-year streak of keeping at least one undrafted rookie on the roster, another sign of the impact COVID-19 and the reduced offseason had on roster decisions.

Here are the 23 guys who were let go:

Barner played a somewhat prominent role on a couple of Eagles teams and won Super Bowl LII with the team. Since leaving Philly he’s bounced between New England, Carolina, and Atlanta. Ehinger started a game at guard for Baltimore last year, but couldn’t crack the roster this time around.

Richards was a full-time starter with the Falcons in 2018, and appeared in nine games with Baltimore last year, scoring a touchdown on a fumble recovery. Townsend was the Raiders’ punter in 2018, and just signed with the Ravens a couple of weeks ago. He probably never had too good a chance of beating out Sam Koch, who has been with the Ravens since 2006. Huntley had a very solid college career at Utah, but wasn’t viewed by too many as a legitimate pro passer.

Ravens Work Out TE Crockett Gillmore

Despite having not played in a regular-season game since 2016, Crockett Gillmore received a workout opportunity in a familiar place Friday.

The Ravens brought in their former third-round tight end pick for an audition, Albert Breer of SI.com notes (on Twitter). Injuries limited Gillmore during his time in Baltimore. The team did express interest in bringing him back, but that was 2 1/2 years ago.

Neither Gillmore nor 2015 second-rounder Maxx Williams panned out to the Ravens’ liking, and the team has shifted to a new group of tight ends — headlined by Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle. Gillmore attempted to move to the offensive line as a free agent in 2018, but not much interest followed.

The 2014 draftee’s most notable NFL work came in 2015, when he caught 33 passes for 412 yards and four touchdowns. A back injury ended that promising season after 10 games. Gillmore suffered a season-ending knee injury in the summer of 2017, ending his time as a Ravens regular. Should the 6-foot-6 free agent be given another opportunity, this would be his age-29 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Frustrated With Jadeveon Clowney

A recent report indicated that the Ravens may be the frontrunners for free agent pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney, but the Titans — who, unlike the Ravens, actually offered Clowney a contract earlier this year — continue to lurk.

Tennessee GM Jon Robinson said back in July that he was still monitoring the Clowney situation, but he wanted to get the former No. 1 overall pick in the Titans’ facility for a physical. So while Robinson may have been willing to bring Clowney in on a fairly low-risk deal without a medical examination, he needs to be assured that Clowney is in good health if he is going to authorize a significant contract.

However, it seems that Clowney has been hard to pin down. In an interview with 102.5 The Game this morning, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports said that the Titans are frustrated with the “lack of engagement” on Clowney’s part (h/t Joe Rexrode of The Athletic on Twitter). Tennessee still wants to bring him in for a physical, but for reasons that are presently unclear, Clowney — who has posted videos to social media suggesting that he is fully healthy — appears reluctant.

Robinson goes on to say that the Titans or Seahawks, not the Ravens, will be the team to land Clowney. In either case, he will sign a contract worth around $12MM per year, a far cry from the $20MM that he was shooting for at the outset of free agency.

The Titans have always looked like a good fit given the presence of head coach Mike Vrabel — the Texans’ LB coach and defensive coordinator during Clowney’s first four years in Houston — and given the club’s need for another pass rusher. The team did take a flier on Vic Beasley and will return Harold Landry, who posted nine sacks in a promising sophomore effort in 2019, but Clowney could provide a major boost to the Titans’ defensive front.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.