Well, John Harbaugh wasn’t kidding when he said that the Ravens would do “whatever it takes” to right the ship, including “we’ll trade guys, we’ll cut guys, we’ll sign guys…”
After signing former Bengals running back Bernard Scott earlier this week, the team announced today that they have cut offseason defensive additions Michael Huff and Marcus Spears.
Huff has to be considered quite the bust. Brought in after a disappointing career in Oakland, the Ravens hoped that the former first-round pick would be rejuvenated with a winning organization and could be Ed Reed’s replacement (as much any anybody can “replace” Ed Reed), as they signed him to a three-year deal. Instead, Huff played horribly in the team’s first game of the season in Denver, and was subsequently benched in favor of rookie Matt Elam.
Given the chance to contribute on special teams – and perhaps win his way back into the good graces of the coaches – Huff continued to disappoint.
Here he is completely blowing his contain responsibility on the critical play at the end of the Pittsburgh game in Week 7. Huff allowed Antonio Brown to get to the left sideline for a huge return that, though called back from being a touchdown due to Brown stepping out, set the Steelers up with great field position for the game-winning field goal (h/t Tony Lombardi for these screen shots).
Huff is lined up at the bottom of the screen.
Huff backed off, seemingly expecting Brown to sit down for a touchback. Here we see him hovering at around the 23-yard line, way off the sideline near the numbers as Brown brings the ball out.
Now he’s trying to get back to the sideline, but Brown has two blockers ready to seal off Huff to spring him.
Aaaaaaaand, he gone.
“Our contain guy, that’s just unforgiveable to let the ball get outside of you right there,” John Harbaugh said after the game. “There’s absolutely no reason for that.”
“We’ve got our lanes and we should have been in our lanes,” Huff said. “I’m the safety on that side, so I should have cleaned it up.”
Well, he won’t be cleaning it up in Baltimore, that’s for sure.
Huff will have to go down as one of the biggest “bust” signings of Ozzie Newsome’s career, as he lasted just seven games in Baltimore.
Spears was brought in to bolster the defensive line rotation, but missed two games due to injury. In 142 snaps over five games, he had just 10 tackles. One has to assume that Spears’ release means that Terrence Cody, who has been sidelined since spraining his left knee in Week 3 against Houston, is feeling better.
Filling the roster spots vacated by Huff and Spears will be practice squad safeties Brynden Trawick (who you’ll remember as the guy who ran into Jacoby Jones in Denver) and fan favorite Omar Brown.
The Ravens now have SIX safeties on their active roster: Brown, Trawick, James Ihedigbo, Matt Elam, Jeromy Miles, and Anthony Levine. Note that cornerback Asa Jackson is eligible to return from suspension next week.
They signed QB Nick Stephens (UDFA Tarleton State) and WR Kamar Aiken (UDFA Central Florida) to fill the practice squad.
Per our Salary Cap Guru Brian McFarland:
As we are past June 1, there is no acceleration for this season on the salaries of the two released players. However, because Huff and Spears are vested veterans, the Ravens will receive no cap savings from them for the rest of the 2013 season. The Ravens will save $2.5M off of the 2014 cap, but will have to carry $1.3M in dead money for those two players. If Brown and Trawick remain on the roster, they will make $254,118 and $214,412, respectively, for the remainder of 2013.
Also, if nobody else picks up Spears, Brian could see him getting the “Bajema treatment” for the rest of the year.
Tony Lombardi and Brian McFarland contributed to this article.