The Ravens ranked last in the NFL in available salary cap space until earlier this week, when they signed Ray Rice to a five-year deal that lowered his 2012 cap number by 2.7 million.
Now they reportedly have some 3.3 million of room under the cap, more than a handful of teams.
How will they spend it?
Theres no clear-cut answer as the organizational clock ticks toward the start of training camp next week in Owings Mills. The Ravens depth chart is pretty well stocked with the players theyre expecting to contribute this season. In other words, there is no immediate, glaring need.
Against that backdrop, the 3.3 million is more of a luxury, essentially an emergency fund. If a glaring need develops between now and the start of the season because of an injury or performance issues during camp, the Ravens have the wherewithal to address it.
Theres no telling where such a need could develop, but here are some possibilities:
Backup running back -- When the Ravens invested a 2012 third-round draft pick in Bernard Pierce, they obviously hoped he could step in for Ricky Williams, who rushed for more than 400 yards in 2011. But can a rookie handle the load and produce at the level the Ravens want? If they decide Pierce needs a year of seasoning, their only other options are a seventh-round pick (Anthony Allen) and an undrafted free agent (Damien Berry) from 2011. Meanwhile, Cedric Benson, who rushed for more than a thousand yards for the Bengals in 2011, is just sitting on the open market.
Linebackerpass rush With Terrell Suggs out indefinitely, building and sustaining a quality pass rush is the Ravens biggest issue on defense. Between Suggs and other players no longer on the team, the Ravens are missing almost half of their sacks (23 of 48) from 2011. If they feel they arent going to get enough pressure from those on hand, they could bring in a designated pass rusher to play on third downs.
No. 3 receiver The Ravens hope they addressed this need with the addition of Jacoby Jones, and they have a handful of other possibilities such as LaQuan Williams and Tandon Doss. But Jones dropped a few balls in the spring and the others have done little in their brief pro careers, and the Ravens want dangerous targets for Joe Flacco. Theyve passed on a slew of veterans so far, but who knows?