Ravens face first deadline with free agents

OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens are facing the first significant deadline of the offseason when they have until 4 p.m. on Monday to reach new deals with free agents who had void years added onto the end of their contracts.

The void years are used to essentially help teams navigate the salary cap. The void years are often called “dummy years” or “fake years” on a contract that allows a team to spread out the signing bonus. The player does not play nor does he have a base salary for those years and is set to become a free agent once the contract voids.

The Ravens have four free agents that have void years on the contracts — Gus Edwards, Kevin Zeitler, Geno Stone, and Rock Ya-Sin. The Ravens reached a one-year deal with Nelson Agholor on Sunday, which saved them $1.66 million in dead money because the wide receiver had void years on his previous contract.

Zeitler is the most pressing of these players because his current deal includes $4.3 million in dead money, which is a salary cap charge for a player who is no longer on a team’s roster. That’s money the Ravens could spend on another free agent.

Zeitler has expressed interest in remaining with the team.

“Obviously, I want to be back as a Baltimore Raven, there is no doubt about that,” he said. “I’ve loved my time here, I love the people here, love my teammates here, and I want to keep playing with them. Hopefully, that business side of football can be figured out nice and quick, and we can get that taken care of. But, whatever happens, I am ready to roll.” 

 However, he is coming off a season when he earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl and his durability could make him an attractive target for other teams.

DeCosta has prioritized re-signing Zeitler, but the Ravens have to navigate a tight salary cap and have 21 other unrestricted free agents.

“He has a great attitude, [he’s] a great player [and] a veteran, [and he has] an awesome family,” DeCosta said. “He’s a free agent. He’s one of those guys that we’ll continue to talk to. He and I met last week. We’ll see what that looks like in the coming weeks, but as I said, the offensive line is going to always be a preference.”


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