The Baltimore Raves cut veteran FB Vonta Leach and MLB Jameel McClain in a move to free up a bit more space under the salary cap. These moves will free up $1.75million and $3.2million under the cap respectively.
The moves do not come as a shock to me. Leach; who is 32, had to wait quite a long time last season to get a deal done with the Ravens. Meanwhile the Ravens have seemingly been trying to prepare for life after Leach as they shifted to more of a one back set, preferring to get another playmaker on the field in the way of a third wideout, or in a dual TE package. Leach was very good at what he did, leading the way for a ground attack, but outside of that box he was limited. He didn’t really get the call in short yardage or goal line situations and he didn’t really catch a lot of passes out of the backfield. He also wasn’t on special teams. Meanwhile the Ravens have another option they just drafted in Kyle Jusczyk who may not be a dominant lead blocker, but does play on special teams and coming out of college was a pass catcher.
McClain is 28 and while he has made a reputation for being stout against the run, he isn’t much of a factor at all in pass coverage and he’s not a pass rushing threat from the LB position. He is very one dimensional and the Ravens defense had gotten exposed quite a bit over the middle in the passing game. It doesn’t help that he was coming back from a serious spinal cord injury and for him to even be back and playing in the NFL is an accomplishment. He isn’t a terrible player, but with the way Ozzie Newsome has been able to find talent around the league I am sure he can find a similar player or better in the free agent market or in the draft. Generally speaking when the Ravens have to cut a guy they like, they manage to bring him back on more cap friendly contracts.
With the cap number growing this season to $133 million (nearly a $10 million increase from last year), Suggs restructuring his contract, the cutting of these two veterans, and with some other possible restructuring down the road the Ravens could very well manage to keep all of the pending free agents on their list. I know they want to keep LT Eugene Monroe, TE Dennis Pitta, and if they can swing it, WR and return man Jacoby Jones. Just from some calculations in my head the Ravens saved about $7.5 million in cap space with the Suggs deal and almost $5 million in the cutting of Leach and McClain, and now the increased cap makes the Ravens about $22 million richer under the cap.