This move was necessary to free up some cap space for the Ravens so that they can then turn those savings to other players they need to retain in order to keep a strong nucleus of players together.
On paper Suggs has signed a 4 year deal worth $28.4 million. From what I can gather, Suggs’ original cap hit would have been $12.4 million and now it is down to $7.8 million. That is a huge savings. What did it cost them? They are paying Suggs $11 million up front, guaranteed signing bonus, and then an additional $1 million for 2014. The next season he is guaranteed another $5 million essentially. The next two years on his contract after that are not guaranteed so if the Ravens chose, they could cut him and owe him nothing. It will be up to the team to decide to keep him and pay him the salary.
Suggs is the Ravens all time sack leader, all time leader in forced fumbles, is second in fumble recoveries, and second in tackles. He is also the 2011 Defensive Player of the year. “Sizzle” had a great first half of the season last year as he recorded 9 sacks coming back from his Achilles tendon injury, but in the second half he recorded only 1 sack. Some reports even mentioned that he looked a bit heavier than usual and his conditioning had been questioned.
Suggs is a 12 year NFL veteran, but is still only 31 years old since he entered the NFL at age 20. He’s had struggles with injuries before, but there is no question that when he’s fully healthy, he is one of the best players on the field. It isn’t easy to replace a player like Suggs and the Ravens should know as they’ve tried to find that same pass rush to put on the opposite side of the line from him and have failed to do so until they plucked Dumervil from the Broncos.
In a perfect world, this will be a win-win situation for the Ravens. Suggs can continue to be a Raven for life, he will continue to be a very productive player, and the savings his restructuring allowed gets parlayed into players that help this team win more championships in the future.