In response to rkarp's comment:
It seems this post has turned into a post filled with confusion.
The issue is salary cap hell, and can the teams in supposed salary cap hell sign free agents.
the issue is not if the GM of said teams is making the correct signings. The issue also is not whether aging, past their prime highly paid vets should be replaced with younger, less expensive players. (Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Michael Oher, we are looking at all of you, and Ray Rice, maybe you too)
If the Ravens make the playoffs this year, does this all become a moot point? If Flacco does a Brady, and restructures his contract freeing up gobs of cap space, does this become a moot point?
It seems to me that the Ravens depth chart posted on this thread is a reflection of bad drafting.
In seems like such an easy concept. With 98% of all contracts in the NFL back loaded into a players aging years, and with no guaranteed base salary in the NFL, moving salary off the roster is an easy exercise (sentiments aside)
Oher is in his prime, he's 27, not 34. Why's he mentioned? Salary cap issues cause you to lose players like Oher and Monroe and Arthur Jones and Dickson, vital young veteran players you'd prefer to keep. As with the Pats and Talib and Edelman. In a non-capped world, those guys would all be retained. As would Red Bryant and Sidney Rice in Seattle.
When you are faced with possibly having to replace your LT and your RT with rookies or lower level FAs, because of the salary cap, is that a good place to be? Maybe it won't come to that and they'll release this other guy and restructure that guy. But to deny that the cap is a major issue and that some teams don't do it as well as others is just wrong.