The only AFC North team remaining in the playoffs is also in pretty decent cap situation heading into the offseason. The Ravens carried over $1.2 million from 2012, which leaves them $15.7 million under the number for 2013. The elephant in the room, however, is of course the impending free agency of quarterback Joe Flacco. Say what you will about Flacco, there aren’t any other options in the draft or free agency that could come close to replacing his production. It seems likely at this point that Baltimore will use its franchise designation on Flacco, which would eat up $14.8 million in cap space; likewise, if he somehow does agree to a long term deal with the team, it will severely crimp the Ravens’ ability to sign other free agents. Future Hall of Famer Ed Reed is also without a new contract, though he has threatened retirement (yeah, right), as is cornerback Cary Williams.
The Browns are in far better shape heading into the offseason than either of the teams listed above, assuming they hire a new head coach at some point. Cleveland carries over $14.3 million in cap space to leave the team currently $48.9 million in the black. The Browns do have some decisions to make defensively, where key contributors such as cornerback Sheldon Brown, linebacker Kaluka Maiava, and defensive lineman Juqua Parker have all finished their walk years. Meanwhile, other than tight end Ben Watson, most of the rest of the offense is locked up for 2013 (discuss among yourselves whether that is actually a good thing). Return man extraordinaire Josh Cribbs is likely gone as well, along with kicker Phil Dawson. Reports that Dawson has been in Cleveland long enough to have been teammates with Jim Brown proved to be false.