The Baltimore Ravens deciding to release wide receiver Jeremy Butler was easily the most disappointing transaction the Ravens made today in my opinion. When Butler is on the field, all he does is make plays. Butler plays hard and he has sure hands which is something that most young wide receivers have had issues with historically during their time with the Ravens.
Unless there is something internally within the Ravens organization that caused a big fallout between the team and Butler, releasing him makes no sense to me.
But now Butler is gone when all he does is produce. And at the same time, we have two guys at the tight end position who are scheduled to serve their respective suspensions in Nick Boyle and Darren Waller to begin the 2016 season as they are both still on the Ravens roster as they are listed on the reserved/suspended by the commissioner list.
To go even further, I would have put cornerback Maurice Canady (who is currently on the active roster) on the practice squad as well rather than risk Butler being signed by another team via free agency.
Canady pretty much fills up a spot on the active 53 man roster which Butler could fill right now. In the case of Boyle and Waller, they are not on the active 53 man roster yet. Both players are currently on the reserved/suspended by the commissioner list.
But at the same time, the Ravens wouldn’t hold on to both Boyle and Waller if the team didn’t have any intentions of keeping at least one of them in the future. Former Ravens safety Will Hill who was released due to a suspension earlier this offseason is a classic example of that.
In the eyes of the Ravens front office and offensive coaching staff, it looks like Butler was on the bubble even if he managed to stay with the team. But if that is the case, if it were up to me, Butler would still be on the Ravens roster and I would have put Canady on the practice squad while cutting either Boyle and Waller based on their lack of judgement alone.
If players like Butler who work hard and do the right things are going to get kicked off of the Ravens roster, let it be to someone who not only works hard, but doesn’t compromise the team by missing multiple games due to a suspension.
Boyle is going to serve a 10 game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy and Waller is going to serve a four game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy as well.
To me personally, I think Butler is a better player than Waller especially. It doesn’t matter to me that Butler is a pure wide receiver and Waller is more versatile as he is a wide receiver/tight end. Butler is the better play maker and has better hands.
With Boyle, he has had more than enough chances to prove himself with the Ravens. But in less than a year, Boyle received two suspensions from the NFL. The first suspension caused Boyle to miss the final four games of the 2015 regular season. The second suspension as mentioned above, is what Boyle is about to serve shortly.
What is the saying in sports? “The best ability is availability.” Well, Butler is available in the near future while Boyle and Waller are not and Canady is not a proven player like Butler at this point either.
In Canady’s case, he just lacks experience. Canady may end up being a pretty good player, I just think that the Ravens don’t risk much by putting him on the practice squad at the moment. But the Ravens risk a lot more by letting young talented receiver like Butler leave. Possibly for good.