With the result of letting guys go and inking players to contract extensions in past couple of days, the Baltimore Ravens had to make some tough decisions to keep the organization moving in a positive direction.
RAVENS EXTEND THE CONTRACT OF OL JAMES HURST, RELEASE RT AUSTIN HOWARD
They decided to give a four-year contract extension to offensive lineman James Hurst. The deal is worth $17.5M that includes 8 M guaranteed. Hurst, 26, has made 32 starts in his four-year and started all 16 games while replacing left guard Alex Lewis, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury. The Ravens see he has some versatility starting at guard and tackle throughout his career. With Hurst remaining at the left guard position and moving Lewis to right tackle means that he Ravens won't pick up the option on their other starting right tackle Austin Howard. Howard, 30, started all 16 games and got signed just after training camp. Letting go of Howard frees up $3M in cap space. With the Ravens high value of Hurst, he was the player who was pushed back in 2015 hitting Joe Flacco resulting in a torn ACL.
RAVENS RELEASE DB LADARIUS WEBB FOR SECOND TIME IN TWO SEASONS
Parting ways with defensive back LaDarius Webb, 32, frees up 1.75M in cap space to bring back Hurst. Webb has been with the Ravens for nine seasons. He played 127 games with 15 interceptions, 93 passes defended, five sacks, three forced fumbles and 480 tackles. With the young talent of Tavon Young and Maurice Canaday really hurt Webb's chances of returning to Baltimore. Webb tweeted on Monday saying “Thank you Baltimore it's been a great run. #StillChasinGreatness.” Webb had two sacks, two interceptions and 39 tackles in three starts last season.
AFTER ONE SEASON, RAVENS RELEASE RB DANNY WOODHEAD
Parting ways with the running back creates $4.8M in salary cap room. Woodhead, 33, played in eight games with 56 yards rushing and 200 yards receiving last season. He was set back by a hamstring injury he suffered in Week one sidelining him to miss half the season. He signed a three-year deal worth $8.8M beating out the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos. With Woodhead out of the equation, it gives a chance for running back Kenneth Dix to fill to the void. Dixon didn't play all last season because of a torn ACL along with two suspensions. Buck Allen proved that he is one of the consistent runners at 4.6 yards per carry. Alex Collins lead the Ravens last season with 973 yards on the ground with six touchdowns. The Ravens could also get a running back in the draft.
RAVENS PICK UP OPTION ON DB BRANDON CARR
Baltimore needs leadership in the locker room. They picked up the $1.5M option on Carr, who is scheduled to make $4.5M this season. They could have saved $4M by parting ways with the veteran but instead will pick up the second year of his four-year deal he signed last offseason. Plus, the Ravens need depth at the because it's still unclear whether DB Jimmy Smith who tore his Achilles in the latter half of the season will be ready for the start of the regular season. Baltimore doe not want to be thin at the cornerback spot position again after DB Jaylen Hill tore his ACL late in December. However, Ravens 2017 first-round draft pick Marlon Humphrey proved he's ready for a starting role will be a huge factor with Carr in the Baltimore's secondary. Carr has made 160 consecutive starts in his career marking the third-longest streak among all active NFL players. He had four interceptions, 12 tackles and made 56 tackles last season.