The Ravens cleared 2.7 million in salary cap space for 2012 with Mondays signing of Ray Rice, according to Pro Football Talk.
The space is badly needed, as the Ravens ranked dead last in the NFL in available cap space as of late last month, with just 606,000 to spend, according to Pro Football Talk.
It seems counterintuitive that they could free up so much apace on a day when they agreed to give Rice 17 million in 2012 and 40 million over the next five years, but the mechanics (and loopholes) of the cap make it possible.
A player can save his team money by agreeing to receive his pay as a signing bonus instead of straight salary, for instance, as bonus money works against the cap on a prorated basis over the life of a contract.
Before he agreed to Mondays deal, Rice was due to earn 7.7 million on a one-year tender as the Ravens franchise player, with every penny counting against the cap. But his cap number for 2012 is now 2.7 million lower because of how his contract breaks down.
Rice is receiving a 15 million signing bonus on his new five-year deal, along with a base salary of 2 million in 2012
The Ravens can use the money to fill in holes as necessary during the run-up to the regular season. If they find that they need a veteran backup running back or a quality offensive lineman, they now have the flexibility to get one.