The Baltimore Ravens announced this morning that star defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has been suspended for the remaining four games of the regular season after testing positive for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances.
In a statement released by the team, Ngata stated the following:
I made a mistake, and I own this. I took Adderall and take full responsibility for doing this. I am deeply sorry and broken up over this. I let down my family, my teammates, Ravens fans and myself. My hope is that the Ravens make the playoffs, and I believe they can do this. And, then I can come back and help us win.
After a disappointing loss to San Diego last Sunday, this is another gut-punch for the Ravens fan base and a beleaguered defense that had breakdowns galore against the Chargers. Ngata would be eligible for the playoffs, but this could be a moot point, as the Ravens are currently on the outside looking in with regard to the race for the postseason. Each of the remaining four games were already must-win scenarios for Baltimore and now the team must move forward without their star nose tackle.
Playoff repercussions aside, one must wonder now how this might affect Ngata’s future with the Ravens.
Ngata has one year remaining on his contract and, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, will carry a $16 million dollar cap number for the ’15 season. The Ravens were sure to pursue cap savings through a possible extension, but this suspension and it’s effect on the team could throw a wrench into those plans.
According to salary cap expert Brian McFarland on Twitter (@RavensSalaryCap), the Ravens will be already be receiving a salary cap credit for $2 million due to the Ngata suspension that they should be able to carry over to the ’15 salary cap.
If the Ravens cut Ngata after the season, the team could save an additional $8.5 million on their cap. Already dealing with a huge cap hit from the release of Ray Rice, finding more cap room will be a priority for the Ravens heading into the offseason.
Has Haloti Ngata played his last game for the Baltimore Ravens? The use of any sort of PED puts into question what had been a very good season for Ngata, a season that would have justified an extension from the team that drafted him.
However, with the Sun’s Wilson also reporting on Twitter that the team is understandably very upset with Ngata, his days in Baltimore may be coming to an end.