To keep Haloti Ngata on his current salary makes no sense for the Baltimore Ravens, but there are creative ways around such problems in the NFL, even when it seems that having a too expensive contract is going to result in getting released.
A Super Bowl champion, five-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro, the 31-year old defensive lineman, Ngata hasn’t been easy to deal with when it comes to making changes to his deal. He’ll be entering his final year of the contract in 2015 which takes a $16 million cap hit, and is far too expensive for the Ravens to not consider releasing him, which will save them $7.5 million. They had discussions about this last offseason which went nowhere.
The Ravens might not be too eager to sign a four-year deal with a 31-year old player who has been quite consistent and healthy throughout the years (playing in Baltimore since 2006), but his four game suspension this season due to PED use certainly didn’t help raise his stock in the eyes of the front office. He finished with two sacks and 20 tackles in 12 games this season, but also had a surprising two interceptions, his first since the 2008 season.
Ngata is the second highest paid defensive end in a 3-4 defense, but the Ravens have no intention of keeping it that way for him. There is a chance that Ngata feels he can make more by becoming a free agent than waiting for the extension offer to come, but as the NFL has shown us since the last CBA was signed, older players usually end up losing money, regardless of whether or not they stand up to management or not.
In short, only Ngata folding and accepting an extension that significantly lowers his salary can result in more years for him at Baltimore, maybe even retiring with the only team he has played for his entire career. Any other decision he makes will result in the Ravens releasing him. It’s difficult to tell what is actually the best thing for both sides.