Kubiak's Hire Doesn't Solidify Returns for Jacoby Jones or Vonta Leach

Rob Carr

An infusion of Leach and Jones' former coaches are joining the staff, but it doesn't guarantee their return next season.

On Monday, the Ravens introduced former Texans head coach Gary Kubiak as their new offensive coordinator. During the introductory press conference, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh stated that early in the process, former Texans (and current Ravens) fullback Vonta Leach and wide receiver/kick returner Jacoby Jones reached out to him in support of their former head coach.

Prior to Kubiak's hiring, it was unlikely that neither Leach or Jones would return to the Ravens next season. Now that Kubiak is in control of the offense, it's still unlikely that either will return purely for salary cap reasons.

Of the two, Leach is the least likely to be retained. Last season, much to his disliking, Leach only participated 19.5 percent of the Ravens' offensive snaps. It was clear that the focus of the offense was the passing game, trading the fullback for an additional tight end or wide receiver.

In 2014, Leach's base salary is $1.75 million, a price too high for a cap-strapped franchise. Even if Leach were willing to accept a pay reduction, his veteran minimum base salary would be $910,000, which is $415,000 more than what Kyle Juszczyk (drafted to be Leach's replacement) will make this upcoming season.

Between the cap savings and not having to once again commit two roster spots for rarely-used fullbacks, Leach's tenure in Baltimore is unfortunately all but over.

As for Jones, he's been adamant that he'd like to be a Raven for life, but a return to Baltimore will likely come at his own expense. Last season, Jones made $4.9 million and will absolutely never see a payday like that coming from the Ravens again.

It's hard to assess a true worth for Jones because he's not a $5 million wide receiver and kick returners don't make that much alone. Jones possesses tremendous playmaking abilities, which someone will likely value higher than the Ravens on the open market.

If Jones were to reunite with Kubiak, he'd certainly have to do it with a reduced income, and certainly a reduced role as adding a wide receiver is of high priority to the Ravens front office.

Putting Kubiak in charge of the Ravens offense is a slam-dunk for the Ravens front office. However, just because he has a history with some fan favorites in Baltimore, doesn't mean the Ravens need to unnecessarily spend money when the team was ready to move on without the players even before Kubiak's hiring.


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