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Ravens Cut – Todd Heap, Kelly Gregg, Derrick Mason, Willis McGahee

The Baltimore Ravens were expected to make some cuts this week as they had to weave their way under the new salary cap, but they were only a few million over, and it seemed all they needed to do was release Willis McGahee to get that done. Baltimore did, in fact, inform McGahee he would be release today, but they also parted ways with longtime veterans like defensive tackle Kelly Gregg, wide receiver Derrick Mason and tight end Todd Heap.

All four veterans have young backups that should contribute if called upon this season as Jalen Parmele is a possible to replace McGahee, Torrey Smith would an ideal replacement for Mason, Terrence Cody seems ready to start in Gregg’s absence. The final release (Heap) was a little surprising because it seemed that the Ravens were displeased with the development of tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta.

Ultimately, these moves were made to save the team money (Heap was owed 4.6 million) for possible run at prized corner back Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency. If Dickson should win a job this preseason, he could have some waiver wire value during the year, but I would like to see quarterback Joe Flacco proves to us that he’s ready to take the next step in his career. That milestone, would be performing at a Pro Bowl level, and thus turning the Ravens into one of the true legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

While Dickson, Smith and others have better fantasy value today, then they did before, I want to caution you that free agency has yet to begin, and you never know if the team will sign new players to compete at these positions. We also have no idea if players like Heap would be willing to come back at a cheaper price (unlikely for Mason, then again) and resign with the team, thus voiding this new-found optimism of a possible breakout year.

For the time being, it appears that it is out with the old and in with the new for Baltimore as they look to add key pieces in free agency to take the final hurdle towards a possible Division Title and Championship.

7/25 – FF Brainwave Update

To go a little further into this situation, I contacted Baltimore Sun writer Jamison Hensley and asked him if Dickson was likely to get the starting job (read here) with Heap gone. Hensley responded by saying that the Ravens really want Heap back, so hopefully they can get him at a cheaper price in the coming weeks. This would make sense for Baltimore as Heap has been a reliable pro, so let’s hold on and see what happens with this situation, before thinking about Dickson as a possible starter.

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