The Baltimore Ravens have another offseason of incredibly tough salary cap-related decisions to make, and they’ve decided to get two of those down today. Per sources close to the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec, the Ravens have decided to release fullback Vonta Leach and inside linebacker Jameel McClain. Both are solid role players, and it’s especially tough to see a fullback of Leach’s caliber get released, especially given just how big of a fan favorite he is. But both players were certainly expendable with their cap numbers, and the money the Ravens save will be put to good use. They need to re-sign Dennis Pitta, Eugene Monroe, and Daryl Smith, as those are three star players at important positions.
Leach, 32, was always a candidate for release, and he was cut last season before ultimately re-signing with the Ravens. This year, GM Ozzie Newsome decided that it just wasn’t worth it to keep Leach at a $2.33 million cap hit. Some people may question it, but it was a very good decision and frees up money to use on those crucial, aforementioned impending free agents.
Meanwhile, McClain recorded 52 tackles last season in ten games after being activated from the PUP list, and he was also always expected to be released. Not only does releasing McClain clear up even more money ($3.2 million), but there was simply no point in keeping him around with rookie Arthur Brown chomping at the bit. The Kansas State product was an excellent college player and could have easily been selected in the first round due to his instincts and all-around ability. He could end up being much better than McClain if developed properly, and that’s saying something since McClain was a quality starter. However, $3.2 million for a guy who has a capable young gun behind him just wasn’t a good deal for the Ravens.