When Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said changes had to be made, he clearly meant it — the Ravens have released defensive lineman Marcus Spears and safety Michael Huff.
In conjunction with those moves, Baltimore has promoted safeties Brynden Trawick and Omar Brown from the practice squad. Those subsequent moves make sense as Harbaugh stated that he needed guys who can add some depth on special teams, and these two are some of the better players in that regard.
It couldn’t have helped Huff’s chances when he lost contain on that final kickoff return that lead to the game-winning field goal against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 7. Considering he hadn’t taken a defensive snap since Baltimore’s Week 4 contest against the Buffalo Bills, you would like to think he could contribute somewhat on special teams … but you’d be wrong.
Spears was roughly in the same boat, but for a different reason. He’s only played five games this season due to a lingering knee injury and wasn’t providing the necessary depth at the defensive tackle position as he has been supplanted for the most part by rookie defensive lineman Brandon Williams.
GM Ozzie Newsome has to be somewhat disappointed that neither of these guys worked out as cost-effective options to rekindle the fire that this Ravens defense lost last season. Some fans might call him out for the two-year, $2.75 million and the three-year, $6 million contracts he gave to Spears and Huff respectively, as it’s money that could have been used to retain San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin.
Considering Baltimore and Boldin were $2 million apart during their negotiations in March and the pair that was released carries a $2.55 million cap hit this year, those criticisms can be justified in some regards.
Luckily for the Ravens, these two won’t strap them for too much cash going forward. Baltimore will eat just $1.3 million in dead money from their respective contracts, but it may not be the last of Spears and Huff in Baltimore. Harbaugh hasn’t ruled out a possible return later in the season, but it’s hard to imagine this coaching staff pulling the trigger on moves like that because it’s hard for veterans to show coaches something new that they haven’t already seen.
Although, stranger things have happened … just look at Billy Bajema.