The Ravens cut safety Earl Thomas during training camp and said that his conduct had violated his contract, meaning they didn’t have to pay his $10 million guaranteed salary. Thomas filed a grievance, saying he was owed that money. Months later, the situation still has not been resolved.
Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta said there is no answer to the question of whether the Ravens have to pay Thomas that money — and count it against their salary cap — or not.
“That’s ongoing. There are some different moving parts. So, I’ll sort of answer that question like that, and just say that it’s ongoing,” DeCosta said, via the Baltimore Sun.
For the purposes of salary cap accounting, the Ravens were charged half of Thomas’s salary on last year’s cap and will be charged the other half if they lose the grievance. If the Ravens win the grievance, they get that money credited back to their cap. So winning the grievance will give the Ravens additional cap space, while losing it will make it that much harder for them to squeeze free agents under their cap.
DeCosta acknowledged it would be nice to get some certainty as the Ravens budget for free agency.
“There are always a lot of different things, and there are all these different elements to an offseason,” DeCosta said. “We don’t even know what the salary cap is going to be yet. It’s hard to build a football team without a salary cap — not knowing what the salary cap is going to be. So, the Earl Thomas situation is just one part of that. But there are a lot of unknowns, and as we begin to get information when checking off all these different boxes, we’ll have a much better idea for how to proceed this offseason.”
Thomas did not play anywhere in 2020 and remains a free agent. DeCosta said Thomas flaming out just one year into a four-year, $55 million contract won’t scare the Ravens off from making other big moves for veteran free agents.
“Any time you in work in personnel and scouting, you’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to swing and miss,” DeCosta said. “You try to hit more hits, more home runs than you strike out. For every player that we might have missed on, I like to think that we have an Eric Weddle or Calais Campbell or Mark Ingram or somebody like that who comes right away and provides leadership and a foundation for your younger players to emulate.”
The Ravens just hope the next free agent is better for young players to emulate than Thomas proved to be.