With the Celebration over (almost), and the reigning Champs set to begin their offseason, the Baltimore Ravens will have some difficult decisions to make. There are plenty of free agents to decide on their fate with the team, namely the QB, but with limited cap room, money will need to be cleared to keep the Super Bowl core intact.
Before the Ravens consider resigning their own free agents, let alone look at others out on the market, there is going to be players cut from the roster. Ozzie Newsome has been a master of rewarding his own, but to do so, others will pay the sacrifice.
Compiled is the list of possible players set to be cut for cap room (from least likely to most likely):
The “What are my chances 1 in a 100?
More like 1 in a million…
So you say there is a chance!?” category
Haloti Ngata: Ngata suffered a lot of injuries in 2012 and concerns are his ability to stay healthy in the coming seasons. The problem is the team will actually lose money in 2013 if he were to be released, so he will be back next year.
Terrell Suggs: He is another star with injury concerns and a big cap number in 2013. The team will only gain less than $2 Million in room if let go; besides with Ray Lewis’ retirement and Ed Reed’s impending free agency, the defense needs a leader. Back in Black (and Purple) next season.
The Tough Decisions
Anquan Boldin: He costs $6 Million against the cap but adamantly wants to stay with the Ravens. As a new centerpiece to the offense since Jim Caldwell took over, no other player, not named Joe Flacco, was more important in the Super Bowl run. Ravens will most likely restructure his contract but there is still a chance they will need the financial flexibility.
Jacoby Jones: He was a playmaking machine in the playoffs and the best kick returner in the league. He was explosive as a receiver but his 30 catches might not warrant his pay check. The life span of elite returners is short as well, making it difficult to keep him around at his number.
Jameel McClain: After losing the greatest MLB of all time, losing McClain would drastically hurt the depth of the linebacker core. But he is coming of an injury (and unsure of when he will be able to return), and could clear a couple million to sign some of the young guys (cough Ellerbe cough cough).
The Southwest Airlines Category
Brendan Ayenbadejo: Losing him will hurt the special teams and depth to MLB but he is in the late Fall of his career. Ayenbadejo is a contributor but nothing more than a mediocre fill in, at best, on the defense. It would be money well spent to use some of his salary towards one of the impending free agents.
Vonta Leach: As an All-Pro (and the best player at his position in the league), it seems blasphemy to see him go. The problem is the Fullback is a dying breed and could be replaced with a late draft pick or undrafted free agent. His contract is too large to keep him around; Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce weep.