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Baltimore Ravens 7 round mock draft 4.0 version

Posted on 25 March 2015 by Dennis Koulatsos

Kevin JohnsonThe Baltimore Ravens were awarded 3 compensatory picks in the 2015 NFL Draft, giving them a total of ten. Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and company can – as usual – go in several directions depending on how the board plays out.  In years past they’ve traded up and down, depending if a player they were targeting had been selected, or if there’s one that they rated higher and is dropping and within reach.  So without further ado, here’s a list of the players I see in a Ravens uniform at the conclusion of this year’s draft. It includes 3 – yes 3 – wide receivers, 2 defensive backs, 1 defensive tackle, 1 running back, 1 tight end, 1 offensive guard, and 1 defensive end:

Round 1: No. 26  – Kevin Johnson, CB Wake Forest He’ll start out as the third corner for the Ravens, but has starting potential down the road.  Ozzie at some point has to get Joe Flacco some “toys”, but this draft is deep at receiver and he’ll go get some (2 or 3) in the not too later rounds. He just cannot afford to be caught with not enough defensive back in this pass happy league again. That potentially cost the Ravens a Super Bowl appearance this past season, and Newsome will make sure it does not happen again.

Round 2: No. 58 – Devin Smith, WR  Ohio State Still sticking with him at this slot. I looked at a lot of receivers at this slot, and Smith was easily the most polished guy. Ran a 4.42 40 with a 39″ vertical. I can’t get the visual out of my head of him blowing up a kick returner in the Senior Bowl, as he came down the flank in the role of a gunner. He’s a football player, and no receiver at the combine tracked the deep ball better.

Round 3: No. 90 – Marcus Hardison, DT Arizona State 6’3″ 307 pounds.  With the loss of Haloti Ngata, the Ravens must draft another young defensive lineman to rotate with Brandon Williams and Tim Jernigan.  Hardison is built more along the lines of a defensive end, but he got to the QB 10 times last season.  That’s a pretty impressive stat for an interior lineman. He also had a good Senior Bowl and Pro Day.

Round 4: No. 122 – Eric Rowe, CB Utah At 6’1 205 pounds, he can play either corner or safety.  He’s been clocked at 4.39 in the 40, and he’s also come in for a visit.  Plus the Ravens love players from Utah.

No. 125 Javorius Allen, RB USC 6’0″ 221 running back from a big time program with big times hands to boot. “Buck”Allen rushed for 1,489 yards averaging 5.39 yards per carry while sharing the backfield with Justin Davis. He finished third on the team with 41 grabs for 458 yards, plus he is a reliable blocker.  His hands and blocking ability will serve him well in the Marc Trestman offense.

No. 136 (compensatory) – Ben Koyack, TE Notre Dame 6’5 255  Still convinced that the Ravens are going to take a TE in this spot. The only question remains as to which one they’re going to pick. I’m a bigger fan of the Penn State TE Jesse James, but I believe his combine #s moved him up to the 3rd round. The Ravens will also consider FSU’s O’Leary, Rutgers’ Kroft (they interviewed him at the combine), and OSU’s Heuerman. It’s also noteworthy that the Ravens also interviewed Koyack, which is the basis as to why I’m slotting him here.

Round 5: No. 158 – Darren Waller, WR Georgia Tech  He is 6’6″ 238 pounds – no folks, that’s not a typo.  Waller didn’t had the best receiving stats as he was primarily used as a blocker in Tech’s run heavy Flex-bone offense.  Still, with his immense dimensions, he is a very intriguing prospect.

No. 171 (compensatory) – Robert Myers, OG Tennessee I’d be surprised if Myers doesn’t end up in a Ravens uniform.  One publication described him as being ideally drafted with a developmental year in mind, which actually fits the Ravens m.o., particularly with Yanda’s and Osemele’s contracts coming up. At 6’5″ 326, he is very much the road grader that the Ravens like at the guard position.

No. 175 (compensatory) – Stefon Diggs, WR Maryland Injury concerns drop the speedy hometown receiver, as the Ravens pick him and triple down at the receiver position, in an attempt to give QB Joe Flacco the aformentioned “toys.” If Diggs – and that’s a big if – can stay healthy, along with Devin Smith he has a shot at replacing the production the Ravens got out of Torrey Smith.

Round 6: No. 203 – Ryan Delaire, DE Towson He is 6’4″ 250 pounds. Pulled a groin running the 40, but still got an interview by the Ravens. Long arms, and very productive career from this UMass transfer. He has a shot at making the roster as a developmental player behind Dumervil and Suggs.

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Monroe limited, Jernigan full participant in Wednesday’s practice

Posted on 07 January 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Optimism continues to grow for the availability of Eugene Monroe and Timmy Jernigan as the Ravens continue preparations for Saturday’s divisional playoff game against the New England Patriots.

The pair practiced for a second straight day Wednesday with Monroe being listed as a limited participant and Jernigan full participating in the workout. The starting left tackle spent time working individually with offensive line coach Juan Castillo during the portion of practice open to reporters.

Monroe told reporters after Wednesday’s practice that he was “very optimistic” about his chances of returning to action for the first time since injuring his ankle in the Week 16 loss at Houston. Rookie free agent James Hurst has been filling in at left tackle while Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda has moved to right tackle and rookie John Urschel has handled the right guard position.

Jernigan injured his left foot in the regular-season finale against Cleveland and missed last Saturday’s playoff game in Pittsburgh. With veteran defensive tackle Haloti Ngata back in the starting lineup, the rookie Jernigan would return to a reserve role in trying to put interior heat on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

“I feel like I can get back into the rotation, but at the end of the day, that’s the coach’s decision,” said Jernigan, who added he was feeling really good after returning to practice Tuesday. “All I can control is me and the way that I prepare.”

Tight end Owen Daniels and linebacker Daryl Smith both received the day off on Wednesday as they often do for the second practice day of a week

Wide receiver Marlon Brown was back at practice on Wednesday and not listed on the first injury report of the week after he wasn’t present during the open portion of Tuesday’s workout.

Meanwhile, the Patriots saw their entire 53-man roster practicing in Foxborough on Wednesday with starting receivers Julian Edelman (concussion) and Brandon LaFell (shoulder/toe) both limited participants.

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: TE Owen Daniels (non-injury), LB Daryl Smith (non-injury)
FULL PARTICIPATION: DT Timmy Jernigan (foot/ankle)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION: RB LeGarrett Blount (illness), WR Julian Edelman (concussion), RB Jonas Gray (ankle), WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder/toe)

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Ravens list Webb as questionable for Sunday’s season opener

Posted on 05 September 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens listed starting cornerback Lardarius Webb as questionable on their final injury report ahead of Sunday’s season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium.

The sixth-year defensive back practiced fully all week after missing five weeks of summer practice due to back spasms first sustained on July 25. Webb is expected by most to play against the Bengals’ explosive passing attack, but it remains to be seen how effective or limited he might be after missing all of training camp.

For players such as Webb and veteran tight end Owen Daniels who missed significant practice time last month, this week was an encouraging development as all 53 players participated fully. Running back Bernard Pierce was the only other player listed and is probable after being cleared from the concussion sustained in the third preseason game against Washington.

“This week is valuable for all the players. They all have done a great job,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “I don’t care where you’re at as a player, you need to prepare. And [Webb and Daniels] prepared like everybody else. Everybody is at their own spot in terms of what they need to do to get ready to play.”

Meanwhile, the Bengals ruled out starting wide receiver Marvin Jones (foot) at the start of the week and listed rookie cornerback Darqueze Dennard (hip) as questionable for Sunday. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict (hamstring) and tight end Tyler Eifert (shoulder) were listed as probable.

Here’s the final injury report of the week:

QUESTIONABLE: CB Lardarius Webb (back)
PROBABLE: RB Bernard Pierce (concussion)

OUT: RB Rex Burkhead (knee), WR Marvin Jones (foot)
DOUBTFUL: LB Sean Porter (hamstring), WR James Wright (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Darqueze Dennard (hip)
PROBABLE: LB Vontaze Burfict (hamstring), TE Tyler Eifert (shoulder), RB Cedric Peerman (hip), G/C Mike Pollak (knee), T Andre Smith (concussion)


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NFL salary cap reportedly increasing to $130 million in 2014

Posted on 20 February 2014 by Luke Jones

With Thursday’s news that the NFL will raise its salary cap to $130 million for the 2014 league year, the Ravens now find themselves in even better position financially with the start of free agency less than three weeks away.

The signing of linebacker Terrell Suggs to a long-term extension Monday left the Ravens with an additional $4.6 million in cap space and just under $16 million total with the initially-projected cap of $126.3 million for 2014, but the league has elected to elevate the cap by over five percent from $123 million last year to $130 million, according to multiple outlets. Such an increase leaves Baltimore just under $20 million beneath the cap at the moment, but that’s not counting the cost of exclusive-rights free agents or restricted free agents.

The extra $3.7 million in space could alter general manager Ozzie Newsome’s outlook on several potential cap casualties such as linebacker Jameel McClain, punter Sam Koch, and fullback Vonta Leach as well as provide more wiggle room to re-sign unrestricted free agents such as tight end Dennis Pitta, left tackle Eugene Monroe, and linebacker Daryl Smith and pursue other possible free-agent targets. Of course, players and agents are very much aware of the news of a higher cap, which will subsequently drive up the cost of open-market free agents in theory.

It’s important to remember that a higher cap will also mean slightly-higher restricted tenders and franchise tag amounts, so the news is relative with all 32 teams benefiting in terms of additional space. If the Ravens plan to use the tag on Pitta, they would now have to fork over an estimated $6.89 million for the tight end franchise tag compared to the previous projection of $6.7 million discussed this offseason.

Of course, whether Pitta would qualify for the tight end tender is a different story entirely.

Teams have until March 3 to decide whether to use the franchise tag on a player and the free-agency signing period begins on March 11 at 4 p.m.


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Video of Rice dragging fiancée surfaces, summons states she was knocked unconscious

Posted on 19 February 2014 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 4:05 p.m.)

With an Atlantic City police report stating there was surveillance video of the alleged physical altercation between Ravens running back Ray Rice and his  fiancée, it seemed to only be a matter of time before some footage would surface of the incident that resulted in both being charged with simple assault last weekend.

A video released by TMZ Wednesday morning shows a man the publication claims to be Rice dragging an unconscious woman out of an elevator before another man in a suit approaches him and appears to speak into a security microphone.  A few moments later, the man alleged to be Rice appears to walk away from the woman as she regains consciousness.

Rice’s attorney Michael Diamondstein offered the following comments to TMZ in response to the video being released and doesn’t dispute Rice and Janay Palmer being the individuals in the video:

“The video that’s being posted by TMZ Sports is not the complete event, but is merely the end result of what transpired. We’ll assure the public that when this matter is fully tried and completed, you’ll have a better understanding of what happened and we ask the public to reserve making any judgment until all of the facts come out.”

The Atlantic City police revealed Wednesday afternoon that they have referred the case to the county prosecutor’s office “to ensure all appropriate charges are considered.”

The court summons obtained by WJZ-TV and FOX 45 on Wednesday afternoon states that Rice struck her with his hand, “rendering her unconscious.”

Many will draw their own conclusions based on what’s seen on the video, but it’s important to acknowledge that the alleged physical altercation is not shown and the footage doesn’t tell how she lost consciousness. However, there’s no sugarcoating how ugly the aftermath is for the 27-year-old running back after police said both parties struck each other with their hands before what was captured on the video.

A team official had no further comment to WNST.net about the released video as the Ravens continue to stand behind their initial statement regarding the altercation.

Head coach John Harbaugh spoke to Rice on Monday about the incident while general manager Ozzie Newsome had yet to speak to the 2008 second-round pick when he addressed the media to announce a contract extension for linebacker Terrell Suggs on Monday afternoon.

“I don’t know the situation. I’ve only gotten what has been written,” Newsome said. “I’ve not had a chance to talk to Ray; I have not had a chance to talk to [director of security Darren Sanders]. I really don’t know the situation and up until I get all the answers, then that’s when we make decisions within this organization once we get all the information we can get.”

Even if Rice is not convicted of any wrongdoing, he will still be subject to potential league discipline through the personal-conduct policy. In the past, commissioner Roger Goodell hasn’t shied away from suspending players who run afoul of the law or simply paint the league in a negative light.

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How far must the Ravens go to keep Pitta?

Posted on 18 February 2014 by Luke Jones

With linebacker Terrell Suggs’ long-term future secure and the Ravens gaining an additional $4.6 million in cap space in the process, they now turn their attention to the next biggest items on the offseason agenda.

Left tackle Eugene Monroe and tight end Dennis Pitta are the top priorities, and the ability to work out agreements for both unrestricted free agents is aided by the Ravens holding just under $16 million in salary cap room after Suggs’ contract extension. However, with the start of free agency on March 11 only three weeks away, it becomes more and more difficult to persuade a pending free agent to agree on your terms as he sees the benefit of a wide-open market in full focus.

As contract talks remain far apart with both players, the Ravens have until March 3 to decide whether they want to place the franchise tag on an unrestricted free agent, but such an option appears too expensive for Monroe as the tag for an offensive lineman is projected to be a hefty $11.1 million for the 2014 season and he simply isn’t regarded as one of the best left tackles in the NFL. That leaves Baltimore with the decision of whether to use the designation on Pitta with the 2014 franchise tag projected to be $6.7 million for a tight end.

Such an option would appear to make sense if the sides couldn’t agree and the Ravens were unsure of Pitta’s worth or the fifth-year tight end simply wanted to reestablish his value after a serious hip injury limited him to just four games last season.

If only it were that simple.

Few have paid closer attention to the showdown between New Orleans and All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham than the Ravens as New Orleans is prepared to use the franchise tag on Drew Brees’ top pass-catching target who collected more than 1,215 yards and 16 touchdown catches last season. As a threat who lines up in the slot and out wide more often than as a traditional tight end, Graham is expected to contest that he should be tagged as a wide receiver, which carries a tender that’s $4.8 million more than the anticipated tight end figure in 2014.

While Pitta isn’t at Graham’s level in terms of production, he can easily file a similar grievance after he lined up in the slot on 79.7 percent of his routes last season, according to Pro Football Focus. And while many have argued that the tight end position is simply evolving — with the 6-foot-7 Graham as transcendent as anybody — the collective bargaining agreement makes it clear that a franchise player is to be tendered at the position “at which [he] participated in the most plays during the prior league year.”

In the same way that they prefer not to tag Monroe because he isn’t a top-five tackle in the league, the Ravens can’t risk the possibility of needing to tie an $11.5 million commitment to Pitta. Of course, Baltimore found itself in a similar position with Suggs years ago when he argued that he should be viewed as a defensive end before the sides eventually split the difference in the franchise tag costs for a defensive end compared to a linebacker.

But even a compromised figure of just over $9 million would eat up much of the Ravens’ available cap space in an offseason in which they have a plethora of needs on both sides of the football after the first non-playoff season of the John Harbaugh era.

And Pitta’s agent, Justin Schulman, is aware of that reality as talks continue.

There’s no disputing Pitta’s importance to the offense as one of Joe Flacco’s favorite weapons over the last couple years, but quantifying that on a relatively small sample size is problematic for a player who will turn 29 in June. His best year came in 2012 as his 61 catches ranked ninth among tight ends and his 669 receiving yards were 11th. Pitta has 61 additional catches for 575 yards in his three other seasons combined in Baltimore.

Prior to his devastating hip injury last July, Pitta was expected to fill an expanded role out of the slot to ease the pain of Anquan Boldin’s departure, but the Ravens were never able to see that come to fruition with him missing more than four months of action. At the very least, Pitta was able to prove he was healthy enough to continue his career at a high level after playing in the final four games of the season and recording 20 catches.

With the uncertainty surrounding the price of the franchise tag and Pitta’s absence being an obvious detriment to the offense last season, are the Ravens being backed into a corner from a negotiating standpoint?

Even if Pitta’s representation would have a difficult time making the argument that he deserves to be paid in the same stratosphere as talents such as Graham or New England’s Rob Gronkowski, hefty contracts handed out to non-elite tight ends such as Jared Cook ($16 million guaranteed), Zach Miller ($13 million guaranteed), and Marcedes Lewis ($12.85 million guaranteed) in recent years certainly won’t help general manager Ozzie Newsome. The top tight ends in the league generally have an average salary of $7 million per season over the course of their contract, but it always comes down to how much guaranteed money a team is willing to hand over.

After Cook secured $16 million in guaranteed money last offseason — which included a $5 million signing bonus and three years of guaranteed salary — it isn’t farfetched that Pitta could be looking for guaranteed money approaching the $20 million range.

His production and talents indicate that he should be paid as a top-10 tight end, but his leverage with the franchise tag and what’s still viewed by some as untapped potential may drive the cost much higher than the Ravens would prefer to go.

The clock is ticking on not only the decision to use the tag but the possibility of Pitta hitting the open market with the organization already declaring the need to add an impact wide receiver to an offense that ranked 29th in the NFL last year.

The Ravens can’t afford to lose their starting tight end.

But whether they can afford him without making sacrifices elsewhere remains to be seen.

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Rice reportedly arrested in Atlantic City altercation over weekend

Posted on 16 February 2014 by Luke Jones

Ravens running back Ray Rice was reportedly arrested after a physical altercation that took place in an Atlantic City casino over the weekend.

According to a report from The Sun, Rice’s attorney Andrew Alperstein said the three-time Pro Bowl running back and his fiancée were charged and released after both were involved in a “very minor physical altercation” at Revel Casino on the Atlantic City boardwalk. The police report indicates that Rice and Janay Palmer were involved in a domestic dispute recorded on video surveillance in which both parties appeared to strike each other.

Both were charged with simple assault-domestic violence and were released on a summons to appear in court after both refused medical attention. The Ravens released the following statement about the incident on Sunday evening:

“We are aware of the Friday night situation with Ray Rice and his fiancée. We have spoken with Ray and know that they returned home together after being detained.”

Coming off the worst season of his career, Rice rushed for only 660 yards and averaged just 3.1 yards per carry in 2013 as he enters the third season of a five-year, $35 million contract signed in July 2012. The 2008 second-round pick carries an $8.75 million salary cap number for 2014, but the amount of accelerated money remaining on his deal makes his release extremely unlikely this offseason.

Based on the few details known at this point, the incident at the very least is an embarrassing occurrence for the 2008 second-round pick who has such a positive reputation for his charitable work in the community as well as his anti-bullying campaign.

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Former Ravens tight ends coach Harman to join Falcons staff

Posted on 07 February 2014 by Luke Jones

After his 15-year run as Ravens tight ends coach came to an end late last month, it appears Wade Harman is catching on with the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff.

Harman is expected to be hired by Falcons head coach Mike Smith, who coached on the Ravens staff under Brian Billick from 1999 through 2002. FootballScoop.com reported that the pair will reunite after Harman was replaced by new tight ends coach Brian Pariani, who arrived with new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak from the former Houston Texans staff.

The only coach to be with the Ravens for both of their Super Bowl wins, Harman coached a number of talented tight ends including Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe, Todd Heap, and Dennis Pitta.



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Castillo to remain with Ravens as offensive line coach

Posted on 08 January 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are still in the early stages of formulating their offseason plans, but their most-maligned assistant coach will return for the 2014 season with a new job title.

Head coach John Harbaugh announced Wednesday that run-game coordinator Juan Castillo will remain with the Ravens as the offensive line coach. However, other staff changes could still be on the way as offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell’s future remains up in the air as he completes his third NFL head-coaching interview this week.

“Juan will be the offensive line coach next year,” Harbaugh said at the Ravens’ season-ending press conference. “The rest of it’s a little bit in flux right now. As all this NFL coaching drama goes on, some of our guys are involved in that. We’ll just have to see how it shakes out. But we’re going to build a great coaching staff again [next] year.”

The decision to retain Castillo is surprising after the Ravens finished last in the NFL in yards per carry (3.1) and 30th in rushing yards per game (83.0). Both were franchise-worst single-season marks as running back Ray Rice gained only 660 yards in the worst campaign of his six-year career.

Castillo’s return also indicates that the Ravens feel their biggest blocking issues were with personnel as their starting offensive line at the end of the 2013 season featured just two starters from the Super Bowl XLVII team. At this point, Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda and guard-tackle Kelechi Osemele are the only safe bets to be starters next year with tackles Eugene Monroe and Michael Oher both free agents — re-signing Monroe is a top offseason priority — and center Gino Gradkowski figuring to have serious competition for the starting job.

Though the Ravens have publicly downplayed the changes Castillo made this past season, the alterations to the zone blocking schemes as well as a second-year center replacing retired 15-year veteran Matt Birk proved to be a combustible combination for the offensive line.

Harbaugh confirmed Wednesday that Castillo really served as the team’s head offensive line coach in 2013 despite being given the innovative title when he joined the Ravens’ staff in January 2012. The change in Castillo’s job description may not bode well for incumbent offensive line coach Andy Moeller, who was essentially demoted after being in charge of the offensive line in 2011 and 2012. Assistant offensive line coach Todd Washington also remains on the staff after recently turning down an offer to become the offensive line coach at the University of Southern California.

The Ravens parted ways with running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery last week after a six-year relationship, leading many to wonder if Castillo would be the next to depart. Castillo served as the offensive line coach of the Philadelphia Eagles for 13 years — spending two additional years as their defensive coordinator before being fired in 2012 — and worked with Harbaugh for a decade under Andy Reid.

Though acknowledging everyone on his staff must coach better in 2014, Harbaugh shouldered the blame for giving the unique title to Castillo and leaving him open to even more criticism with the running game struggling so mightily.

“I can understand why Juan is a lightning rod right now because the way we set up the structure and then we go into the season and we have our worst-ever year running the ball and he’s got that title,” Harbaugh said. “That’s on me. When we hired Juan, the idea was to add another great coach into our mix. Juan functioned as the lead offensive line coach last year. That was his job. The title was a way to have three great offensive line coaches in our mix right there. Andy had a big contribution last year. It was a little bit different than he had the year before.

“We had three guys working together and I thought it was going to be a really good mix. I thought those guys did a really good job of coaching together. We didn’t get the result that we wanted to get, but Juan was the offensive line coach and that’s his title going forward.”

The Ravens will now wait on the fate of Caldwell in terms of his prospects of once again become a heading coach. However, no firm commitment has been made that the offensive coordinator will return next year as Baltimore tries to improve an offense that finished 29th in yards and 25th in points scored in 2013.

Caldwell has interviewed with Detroit, Washington, and Tennessee, but the former Indianapolis Colts head man hasn’t been publicly regarded as the favorite — at least to this point — to land any of those head-coaching vacancies.

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Examining the Ravens’ possible 2014 salary cap cuts

Posted on 06 January 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens don’t enter the winter in quite as dire straights with their salary cap as they did a year ago, but that won’t protect them from facing difficult decisions in trying to rebound from their first non-playoff season since 2007.

Entering the offseason with 37 players under contract and roughly $14 million in cap space — they’ve since signed nine players to reserve-future deals — the Ravens must take a long look at a number of potential veteran cuts that would bring needed room to not only re-sign some of their own free agents but allow them to explore outside possibilities to improve a roster that finished 8-8 in 2013.

The biggest and most intriguing name on the list will be Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs, who is entering the final year of a six-year, $62.5 million contract and has spent 11 years with the organization that selected him in the first round of the 2003 draft. Deciding his status will be at the top of general manager Ozzie Newsome’s list of internal priorities before turning his efforts toward augmenting the roster for 2014.

A name that won’t be on the list of possible cap casualties is running back Ray Rice, who is coming off the worst season of his career and has often been mentioned by fans as someone the Ravens shouldn’t bring back. Though Rice’s 2014 cap figure of $8.75 million is way too high for a running back who averaged only 3.1 yards per carry and gained just 660 yards, his release prior to June 1 would cost $14.25 million in dead money toward the 2014 cap. In other words, cutting Rice would actually be more expensive to the Ravens’ 2014 cap than keeping him for another season.

The three-time Pro Bowl running back isn’t going anywhere in 2014.

It’s important to remember the rule of 51 as the top 51 cap numbers on the roster count against the salary cap. The savings from any released player is offset in part by an additional player jumping into the top 51 from the bottom of the list. For example, if a released player carrying a $3 million cap number is replaced in the top 51 by another player carrying a $405,000 cap number, the end result is a $2.595 million savings on the salary cap.

Here’s how I’d rank the list of possible candidates to be cut for cap purposes (with the pre-June 1 cap savings noted in parentheses), in order from most likely to least likely:

1. FB Vonta Leach ($1.75 million)
Skinny: The fate of the three-time Pro Bowl fullback is the easiest to predict as this move is about football as much as it is finances. The Ravens abandoned the two-back system early in the season as their running game struggled and wouldn’t figure to be willing to pay Leach his $1.75 million base salary in 2014 after he rarely played more than a handful of offensive snaps per game in the final 2 1/2 months of 2013. Even if the Ravens elect to emphasize the fullback more often in their offensive approach for 2014, Kyle Juszczyk or another cheaper option will be preferred to Leach, who sees the writing on the wall in terms of his future in Baltimore.

2. LB Jameel McClain ($3.2 million)
Skinny: The Ravens cut McClain’s 2013 base salary in half while he worked his way back from a spinal cord contusion, so you wonder how willing he would be to accept another pay cut to remain in Baltimore. The free-agent status of veteran Daryl Smith makes this decision more compelling as the Ravens could use the money saved on McClain toward a new contract for Smith, who played well at Mike linebacker in Dean Pees’ system. With younger and cheaper options such as 2013 second-round pick Arthur Brown and Josh Bynes on the roster, it only makes sense for the Ravens to look into lowering McClain’s salary if not deciding to cut him altogether as he enters the final season of a three-year contract.

3. P Sam Koch ($1.6 million)
Skinny: Serving as Baltimore’s punter since 2006, Koch is one of the longest-tenured players on the team, but his $2.8 million cap figure for 2014 is the 10th-highest among players currently under contract for 2014. He did rebound down the stretch after a subpar start to the season, but the Ravens have to think they can go younger and cheaper than the league’s 22nd-ranked net punter in 2013. Of course, cutting Koch wouldn’t make it impossible to bring him back at a reduced rate if he was agreeable to doing so, but finding an effective punter in the latter stages of the draft or in rookie free agency shouldn’t be too impossible of a task.

4. LB Terrell Suggs ($7.8 million)
Skinny: The only reason that Suggs isn’t higher on the list is the likelihood of the Ravens exploring a short-term extension to lower his projected $12.4 million cap figure for 2014. Suggs’ poor second half in 2013 raises concerns about giving more money to a player who will be 32 in October, and the Ravens need to think carefully about making commitments to players for past accomplishments instead of future production. It’s difficult to say whether Suggs’ disappointing second half — only one sack in the final eight games — was the result of an injury or simply wearing down, but the Ravens might be wise to part with him a year early instead of possibly a season too late. It would be hard to walk away from a franchise player and a pass rusher with 94 1/2 career sacks if you think he has plenty left, but $7.8 million in extra space can help accomplish much in an offseason. Whether they ultimately work out an extension, cut him, or somehow manage to get Suggs to agree to a straight pay cut, the Ravens aren’t expected to allow his huge cap number to go untouched.

5. DE Chris Canty ($1.83 million)
Skinny: Considering Canty is their best 5-technique defensive end and fellow defensive lineman Arthur Jones could depart via free agency, the Ravens are likely to keep the 31-year-old veteran after a solid but unspectacular first year in Baltimore. He only counts for $3.16 million on the 2014 cap and the Ravens will already be depending on younger players such as Brandon Williams and DeAngelo Tyson to fill bigger defensive roles, so Canty represents a solid option to plug into the starting lineup for at least one more season. Canty is owed a $500,000 roster bonus on the fourth day of the new league year that begins in March, so a decision on his fate would have to come before then if the Ravens are contemplating cutting him.

6. DT Haloti Ngata ($1 million)
Skinny: The five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle’s name has come up often over the last two winters, but the $1 million in savings from a potential release is dwarfed by the $15 million in dead space the Ravens would need to absorb on the 2014 cap if he were to be cut prior to June 1. It’s virtually impossible to argue that his production no longer matches the $16 million cap figure he’ll carry for 2014, but Ngata is still an above-average player that would be difficult for the Ravens to adequately replace after taking such a big cap hit. The only reason the Ravens would really consider cutting Ngata would be to save the $8.5 million in base salary he’s owed next season, but that would be a decision of saving cash over clearing cap space and not one that would help the team on the field in the coming season. It wouldn’t be impossible, but the Ravens appear very unlikely to cut Ngata this offseason.

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