As the Ravens begin to lay the ground work for a decisive offseason, the staff here at Baltimore Beatdown will be participating in a roundtable discussion about various topics pertaining to the team. The first part of this series will pertain to who the Ravens are likely to cut in order to save cap room.
Elvis Dumervil- Not only is his cap hit high for a 33-year old pass rusher who missed a ton of time last season with injuries and had his role reduced, he only has nine sacks over the last two seasons, six in 2015 and three in 2016. While Elvis has had a good run in Baltimore after the Ravens literally stole him thanks to a fax machine, he really didn't come through in big games when the team really needed him to produce a pass-rush. The one negative in cutting him is the fact that he wasn't 100% in 2016. He could very well rebound and have a great 2017 for another team, making the Ravens regret their decision. However, it may be best for the team to cut him and go with Matthew Judon, Za’Darius Smith and a possible free agent or draft addition in an effort to get younger and better on defense. Elvis has left the building.
Benjamin Watson - This will be one of the first cuts we see, simply because of depth, age and now injury concerns. It was always thought that Watson was a one year contributor anyway, given the back loaded contract, only which would be honored for the second and final year if he had a big first season for. Now coming off a torn Achilles and with the likes of younger and more proven talent in front of him, Ozzie will have no choice but to part ways with one of the best men in all the league. You can’t get rid of Maxx Williams or Crockett Gilmore, as they both offer so much potential that the Ravens need to explore, and obviously the Ravens won't be letting go of Pitta after leading all tight ends in catches, and being Joe Flacco's most trusted target. The likes of Nick Boyle and Darren Waller could be considered if the front office still likes Watson, but again there is untapped potential and proven contributors in those two players that might allow them to stick around through the summer. Getting a quick $3 million from Watson will go a long way in Ozzie finding the next Daryl Smith or Corey Graham, position players needed much more than a 37 year old TE buried on a depth chart. It's a shame we couldn't see such a great person like Watson make plays out there with Joe, but it's a business move to help progress this team back to playoff contention.
Shareece Wright, Kyle Arrington and Kendrick Lewis are the no-brainers. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
Dennis Pitta is done for me and Ben Watson likely should also be cut.
Mike Wallace would be a cut for me- Perriman & Moore have similar skill sets, and while he started strong, he tailed off dramatically after mid-season.
Webb, and to a lesser degree Dumervil are guys I would consider bringing back if they would be willing to take a pay cut.
Last, but not least is Jeremy Zuttah. He has been serviceable when sandwiched between 2 elite guards, but otherwise has not been that impressive. The time has come to fill the slot properly and give Joe the protection he needs. It may seem that I want to cut everyone, but the truth is that we need upgrades at all these spots. Players like Wallace, Zuttah and Webb are serviceable, but to get back to the playoffs we are going to need a lot better than that.
I agree with Yitzi on Webb, Arrington, Lewis, Watson, Dumervil and potentially Wallace. I noted in my salary cap breakdown (You can view that here) that the Ravens could potentially go into free agency with close to $37 million in cap room. It’s unlikely they make all of the cuts I mentioned but a lot of them seem feasible. The only issue I envision the Ravens running into is that of depth at the defensive back position. A lot is being made of Mike Wallace being shown the door, but a healthy Perriman and the addition of a receiver such as Pierre Garçon could be even more effective than a receiver who is 30 years old and relies primarily on his speed to get open and make plays.
The most obvious player that could potentially be cut is Kendrick Lewis. The Ravens signed him to a three year deal worth almost $5.5 million. For the 2016 season, Lewis made $1.4 million, and he is set to make $1.8 million in 2017. That's an absurd amount of money to pay to a player who won’t see the field much if at all in 2017. I'd be shocked if Lewis is still on the roster by the beginning of training camp.
The more interesting player is Mike Wallace. If the Ravens pick up Wallace’s team option for next year, then Wallace will be owed a base salary of nearly $4.8 million. Yes, Wallace will likely line up as the number one wide receiver based on who is currently on the roster, but the Ravens can’t afford to pay him that much money. If the Ravens take a wide receiver in the first two rounds of the draft, or sign someone like Pierre Garçon in free agency, the odds of Wallace being cut go up. But if the Ravens wait until the middle rounds to select a wide receiver and still cut Wallace, then Breshad Perriman becomes the number one receiver, a job he isn't ready for yet.
Check back to Baltimore Beatdown for more staff round table discussions in the coming weeks.