With the playoffs in full swing, the Baltimore Ravens are forced to watch the action from home in a disappointing season that saw the reigning Super Bowl champions miss the postseason for the first time since 2007.
General manager Ozzie Newsome must review the roster and determine how to best reshuffle the deck for an improved run in 2014. One of the major tasks will be to review the hefty group of free agents.
According to BaltimoreRavens.com, the team has a total of 21 free agents heading into the offseason, excluding wide receiver Brandon Stokley, who plans to retire.
The projected salary cap for next season is $126.3 million, leaving Baltimore with $13.636 million in cap space, via Spotrac.com. This figure becomes significantly important when determining which players to keep or let walk.
Among the free agents, there are three categories: exclusive-rights free agent (ERFA), restricted free agent (RFA) and unrestricted free agent (UFA).
Exclusive-rights free agents have no more than two years of accrued NFL experience. If the Ravens offer the minimum qualifying offer—$495,000 for one year and $570,000 for two years—the player must accept the offer with no option to negotiate.
Restricted free agents have three years of accrued NFL experience. If Baltimore submits a qualifying offer to these players, the Ravens maintain the "right of first refusal."
This means that if another team makes an offer, the Ravens can match it, and the player stays with the club. If they allow the player to walk, they receive a compensatory draft pick from the new team, typically for the original draft round of the player.
Unrestricted free agents have four or more years of accrued NFL experience. These players can sign with any team, and Baltimore receives no compensation if a player walks. Of the 21 free agents for the Ravens, 13 are unrestricted.
Let's take a look at each player and make a determination whether they should be wearing purple and black in 2014.
All contract details courtesy of Spotrac.com.