The veteran cuts keep on coming, as the Ravens are the latest team to part with a major contributor. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Baltimore has released inside linebacker Daryl Smith. As a vested veteran, Smith will immediately be eligible to sign elsewhere without passing through waivers.
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Smith, who joined the Ravens for the 2013 season after spending nine years in Jacksonville, hasn’t missed a game in his three years in Baltimore, starting the last 48 regular-season games for the club. In 2015, he racked up 121 tackles to go along with three sacks and an interception.
While Smith’s release comes as a bit of a surprise, Pro Football Focus did rank him just 71st out of 97 qualified linebackers in 2015, and he’ll turn 34 later this month, so the Ravens could go younger and cheaper at the position while potentially not taking a major step back in terms of production.
The Ravens also need to create some cap room to complete their offseason business, and don’t have a ton of obvious release or restructure candidates on their roster that would free up significant space. By cutting Smith, the team will trim his 2016 cap charge from $4.375MM to just $1.75MM, creating $2.625MM in cap savings.
That’s not a huge amount of cap room, but every little bit will help the Ravens this offseason, and inside linebacker is a spot that the club can probably address on the cheap. Baltimore will likely be in the market for help at the position either in free agency or the draft as the club explores potential complements for C.J. Mosley in the middle.
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