It didn’t take long for the Ravens to begin cutting costs.
Just hours after the 4 1/2-month lockout between the NFL and the players was lifted, the Ravens reportedly told running back Willis McGahee that he will be released. Teams cannot officially release players until Thursday.
The move is an effort to get beneath the new salary cap which was instated with the new 10-year collective bargaining agreement. And for McGahee, it’s the end of a four-year stint with the Ravens.
During his time in Baltimore, McGahee was thought to be the Ravens’ tailback of the future. After three seasons in Buffalo, McGahee rushed for 1,207 yards and seven touchdowns in his first season with the Ravens in 2007. Since then, however, his production has taken a dip each year.
Over the last two seasons, the multiple running back system, combined with the emergence of Ray Rice, left McGahee scrambling for opportunities. Last season, McGahee carried the ball only 100 times and rushed for 380 yards, his lowest single-season output.
McGahee isn’t the only Raven reportedly set to be released. Reports are coming in that the Ravens plan to release long-time nose tackle Kelly Gregg. Gregg came to the Ravens in 2001 and has been a mainstay along the defensive front for Baltimore, racking up 19.5 sacks during his tenure.
Earlier today, Ravens vice president/general manager Ozzie Newsome released this statement regarding the new salary cap:
“With this agreement comes a new salary cap, unlike last season when there was no cap. We will be making a number of roster moves in the next 48 hours that will free up salary cap space. This will give us the ability to make offers to our players we want to re-sign, plus put us in a position to sign free agents from other teams.”
This is only the beginning of what will be a tornado of roster moves and trades over the next 48 hours, but clearly this is a less than stellar way to begin the season for Ravens fans.