Michael Oher, Corey Graham triggered escalators, base salaries rise

SportsBaltimore RavensFootballCorey GrahamMichael OherNFL Pro BowlDennis Pitta

Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher and cornerback Corey Graham have both triggered playing-time escalator clauses that have boosted their base salaries for 2013 by a combined $950,000.

Oher is now due a base salary of $3.785 million, up from $3.085 million, as he enters the final year of his $13.5 million rookie contract that includes a total of $7.82 million guaranteed money. Oher's salary-cap figure is $4.955 million.

The Ravens held preliminary discussions with Oher's agent, Jimmy Sexton, during the season regarding a contract extension, but the two sides weren't on the same page for total value and guaranteed money and nothing progressed. Oher is a 2009 first-round draft pick from Mississippi.

A former Pro Bowl special-teams ace with the Chicago Bears, Graham was forced into a starting role opposite Cary Williams because of injuries to Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith.

Graham developed into a dependable starter who intercepted two Peyton Manning passes in an AFC divisional-round victory over the Denver Broncos, returning one for a touchdown.

Because of his increased playing time, Graham's base salary for 2013 is up to $2.05 million from $1.8 million. His new salary-cap figure is $2.65 million.

The Ravens, who have 49 contract commitments currently on the books for a total of $111.136 million, are currently $10.864 million under a projected salary cap of $122 million. That includes $1.182 million in salary-cap space carried over from 2012 as well as $1.8 million in dead money from former Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff.

The cap figure doesn't include any deals with unrestricted free agents, a potential $20.46 million exclusive franchise tender for quarterback Joe Flacco, or restricted free agent tenders for tight ends Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson or defensive lineman Arthur Jones.

The Ravens have choices to make, including whether to give tenders to restricted free agent long snapper Morgan Cox, wide receiver David Reed, offensive lineman Ramon Harewood and safety Emanuel Cook.

If the Ravens were to assign Pitta, a former fourth-round draft pick, an original-round tender of $1.323 million, they could risk losing him if they opted not to match a competing offer sheet. So, he's likely to get a second-round tender of $2.023 million.

Dickson is a former third-round pick, so he could get the original-round tender of $1.323 million.

Jones is a former fifth-round draft pick who's coming off his best season. It might be a problem for the Ravens if they don't give him a second-round tender.

Cox could be non-tendered, but signed to a veteran minimum salary.

The Ravens could also, because of their tight salary-cap situation, do the same for Reed, Harewood and Cook and entertain the possibility of offering them minimum salaries.

If center Matt Birk or offensive guard Bobbie Williams retire or are released, the Ravens would gain a total of $3.25 million in salary-cap relief initially. By later replacing those figures with other players under the rule of 51 accounting, the Ravens would get back a total of $2.44 million for those two potential roster subtractions.

There has been no movement yet toward restructuring wide receiver Anquan Boldin's $6 million base salary, according to a league source.

Boldin has been mentioned as a potential salary-cap casualty because of his $7.531 million 2013 salary-cap figure, the final year of his $28 million contract signed March 8, 2010 that included $8 million in guaranteed money.

Pro Bowl kick returner Jacoby Jones is due a $1 million roster bonus March 16, the fourth day of the new league year. Heading into the final year of a two-year, $7 million deal, Jones has a $4.9 million salary-cap figure.

awilson@baltsun.com

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SportsBaltimore RavensFootballCorey GrahamMichael OherNFL Pro BowlDennis Pitta
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