Baltimore Ravens: 3 Most Underpaid and Overpaid Players on the Roster
The Baltimore Ravens are a team known for their shrewd contracts and solid salary cap situation, so the fact that they have multiple steals on their roster is no surprise.
The few overpriced players, though, are somewhat surprising considering the Ravens' reputation, but every team has a few such players.
The Ravens' underpaid players are all young, dynamic talents who will only improve with time, making their contracts seem even more pitiful than they already seem.
On the other hand, the Ravens' few overpaid players are all overpaid for different reasons: some because of their age, others for no reason other than an absurd salary cap hit.
Here are the three most underpaid and the three most overpaid players on the Ravens roster.
Overpaid—Billy Cundiff ($2.8 Million Cap Hit)
If the Ravens pay Billy Cundiff one cent in 2012, they are paying too much for him, especially after his final kick kept the Ravens from overtime in the AFC Championship game.
Small rant aside, $2.8 million is way too much to pay for a kicker who has only had one above-average season in his career.
Nearly all of the kickers who make more than Cundiff are considered truly elite kickers, while Cundiff has never been special in his career, other than his miraculous 2010 season.
That Cundiff is paid in the top-half of kickers in the league is ludicrous, especially considering his struggles with accuracy from beyond 40 yards.
The Ravens needed to upgrade the kicker position this offseason, yet they failed to do so. They will have to spend $2.8 million for their mistake.
Underpaid—Pernell McPhee ($501,140 Cap Hit)
Pernell Mcphee is the Ravens' best healthy pass-rusher heading into this season, and they are getting his talents at a mere $501,140.
Not only can McPhee rush the passer, but he is also a stout run defender and an altogether developing talent.
McPhee is one of the Ravens' bright, young defensive stars, and he should develop into not just the biggest bargain on the Ravens, but one of the biggest bargains in the NFL.
Overpaid—Haloti Ngata ($17.9 Million Cap Hit)
Make no mistake, Haloti Ngata is an elite defensive tackle. He is built like a bear but moves like a linebacker, and his dirty work helps make Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs produce at such a high level.
Unfortunately, he is simply not worth the $17.9 million he counts against the cap in 2012.
In fact, no non-quarterback is worth that much, as no non-quarterback affects the game in such a way as to be worth such an enormous salary.
The only thing keeping this contract from being the bane of the Ravens' existence is the fact that it decreases significantly in value in 2013 and beyond. So while Ngata is grossly overpaid currently, he will soon become a much more affordable piece of the Ravens defense.
So while Ngata deserves to be among the highest paid players on the Ravens, his contract is simply too enormous to currently justify.
Underpaid—Lardarius Webb ($2.615 Million Cap Hit)
Lardarius Webb just signed a nice, big contract, but for this season, his salary is a fraction of the salary of other top cornerbacks around the league.
Webb proved last year that he is one of the best corners in the league, so having him for only $2.615 million is an absolute bargain.
For comparison's sake, Darrelle Revis counts almost five times as much against the New York Jets' cap, with a cap hit of over $11 million.
While Webb's cap hit will rise over time, for now, he remains one of the biggest bargains in the NFL.
Maybe this is a cop-out, but the Ravens really don't have any other bad contracts on the payroll.
The Ravens had three players heading into this season who were overpriced: Lee Evans, Domonique Foxworth and Chris Carr. None of those players will be with the Ravens this season.
Clearly, the Ravens usually know when to escape from a bad contract, and they did it this offseason with aplomb.
Underpaid—Torrey Smith ($765,725 Cap Hit)
The Ravens' best receiver will be making less than $1 million this season, as Torrey Smith is the Ravens' biggest bargain based on his level of play and salary.
Smith is the Ravens' most dynamic down-field playmaker, and his talents are worth well more than what the Ravens are paying for him.
Players who have never had a season as productive as Smith are making significantly more on the open market, such as Josh Morgan and Robert Meachem.
Meanwhile, Smith is only the third-most expensive receiver on the Ravens' roster, making much less than both Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones.
All in all, Smith is an absolute steal, and the fact that he isn't complaining about his meager salary shows that he is as solid off the field as he is on it.