Following the decision to place Ben Watson and Kyle Arrington on season-ending injured reserved, and the release of nine other players on Monday, the Ravens have taken the necessary steps to trim their roster to the mandated 75 player limit before the NFL deadline.
On Tuesday, the Ravens waived kicker Will Lutz and placed running back Lorenzo Taliaferro on the PUP list. Rookie third round defensive end Bronson Kaufusi was moved to injured reserved with a broken ankle. And developmental offensive tackle Stephane Nembot will be stashed on injured reserve this season with an undisclosed injury.
The other Ravens released earlier during this first round of cuts were G Jarrell Broxton, DT Trevon Coley, WR Dobson Collins, C Anthony Fabiano, WR Chuck Jacobs, QB Jerrod Johnson, LB Mario Ojemuida and WR Darius White. Along with Lutz, all ten of these players who were outright released appear to be nothing more than training camp fodder, they are not expected to earn a practice squad invitation.
Foot injuries have plagued Taliaferro’s young career, he has landed on IR in each of his first two seasons. Taliaferro should find it difficult to find a place in a deep Ravens backfield when his body is physically able to perform. The Ravens running back depth chart is stacked with better players right now.
Kaufusi broke his ankle in early August, it was only a matter of time until his season was officially over. It is disappointing that the team will not receive any rookie year contributions from an early round pick, but Kaufusi could use a redshirt season to add mass to his frame.
The decision to stash Nembot is the most interesting. The raw undrafted free agent was generally expected to land on the practice squad, so he could continue learning the game and refining his technique. Either his injury is serious enough to limit his ability to practice, or the Ravens did not want to allow any chance of another team poaching him from their practice squad. Fellow developmental tackle De’Ondre Wesley will benefit most from Nembot’s absence.
Notable cuts from around the league include linebacker Paul Kruger (Browns), defensive end Bjoern Werner (Jaguars), quarterback Zach Mettenberger (Chargers), safety Major Wright (Buccaneers), linebacker Perry Riley (Redskins), cornerback Brandon Browner (Seahawks) and defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (Patriots).
The Ravens front office could be in the market for upgrades at backup offensive tackle and cornerback. However, they should exercise caution when considering these recently released players. If they were playing at a high level, their former teams would not have released them this late in the offseason. And the Ravens need to be careful not to add more aging veterans who will block playing time for promising players to an already older roster.
The Ravens are required to be at the 53-player regular season roster limit by 4 pm on Saturday, September 3rd. They can then sign their 10-player practice squad on Sunday, September 4th at 1 pm.