It is that time of year for the Baltimore Ravens, time to cut players to clear up space under the cap to resign players, and fill in holes with free agents. The Ravens kicked off with the cut of a loved Raven, Daryl Smith:
Cuts keep coming: Ravens released veteran linebacker Daryl Smith, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 3, 2016
Smith came over from the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013, following the retirement of Ray Lewis and the free agent exit of Dannell Ellerbe. He was coming off an injury which caused him to miss most of the 2012 season, so the Ravens were able to sign him for a bargain, $1 million contract. He more than earned the money, filling in admirably for Ray Lewis and exceeding his on-field production. The Ravens rewarded him with a 4 year $13.6 million deal, and he continued to produce in the 2014 season before showing some signs of slipping in 2015.
His release creates $2.625 million in cap space for the Ravens, and leaves $1.75 million in dead money. The internal options to replace him are special teams aces Zachary Orr, who logged the 3rd most snaps at inside linebacker the past season, and 29 year old veteran Albert McClellan, who was just resigned to a 2 year deal. Orr has one more year on his contract, and the undrafted free agent is just 23 years old. McClellan has experience starting at LB, with 12 starts back in 2011 and 2012 for the Ravens. The third option is 2013 2nd rounder Arthur Brown, but he has yet to show any indication the team is willing to give him snaps, let alone start.