TWO MINUTE OFFENSE: Pay cut or else for Leach?

Dallas Cowboys v Baltimore Ravens

Vonta Leach is in a league of his own and is far and away the best lead blocking fullback on the planet. Unfortunately for the three-time All Pro he is part of a dying breed and plays a position that in today’s NFL is as cutting edge as a Walkman.

And that limits Leach’s marketability.

This season Leach carries the team’s ninth highest cap figure at $4.33M and given that the Ravens invested a fourth round pick in FB/TE Kyle Juszczyk it stands to reason that Leach is a potential cap casualty. The Ravens could save $3M in real money and cap money by parting ways with their human wrecking ball.

Perhaps rational minds will prevail.

Leach isn’t going to get $3M in cash anywhere else in the league. If released he might only be offered the league minimum given his wear and tear and the diminished role of fullbacks.

As a 10-year veteran Leach’s minimum would be $925,000. Look for the Ravens and Leach to split the difference and structure a new 2-year deal on paper that will look a lot like a 1-year restructure in reality.

Matt Birk decided to skip Wednesday’s trip to the White House because of his philosophical, political and religious differences with President Barack Obama. Count me among those who believe Birk should have shelved those differences for a day and played nice in the sandbox. It doesn’t make you a hypocrite. It just makes you a guy who wanted to celebrate the day with teammates.

The bet here is that Birk will live to regret his choice, if he hasn’t already done so.

Speaking of the President, it was interesting to see the Ravens opt to place “Mr. President” above the No. 44 jersey that they gifted to President Obama. Most teams simply place the name Obama there. A team source indicated that both John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome refer to the President that way as a sign of respect for the office and they wanted the jersey to represent the same respect.

The Ravens signed Daryl Smith to a 1-year deal this week. The linebacker whose career has gone largely unnoticed because he’s played for the low-profile Jacksonville Jaguars, is a solid player who can play both inside and outside but probably is better suited for inside in the Ravens 3-4 alignment.

The 31-year-old Smith is recovering from a groin injury that limited him to just 2 games in 2012. That said, Smith has been a very durable player, missing just 4 games during his previous 8 seasons. In 126 career regular season games Smith has 679 career tackles, 21 ½ sacks, 6 INT’s and 41 tackles for loss (TFL).

Comparatively speaking during this same time frame (since 2004), Ray Lewis had 957 tackles, 20 ½ sacks, 11 INT’s and 31 TFL’s in 115 games.

Having donned the number 52 his entire career, Smith will wear No. 51 as a Raven.

CONDOLENCES: We wish to express our sincerest regrets to the family and friends of Scott Burgess who was taken from this state of consciousness on Saturday morning. Scott, a huge fan of local sports teams will be remembered for his love of life and his love of people and will be deeply missed by those who knew and loved him.

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

28 Raves on “TWO MINUTE OFFENSE: Pay cut or else for Leach?

  1. Dave on said:

    Birk made a great decision not going. More people should boycott our racist anti American president before its too late.
    You should learn more about our president in order to formulate a more informed opinion.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      Wasn’t about the President Dave. It was about his teammates IMO. I think he’ll regret it down the road. Had he gone and then later said why despite his differences he wins on both counts.

    • Josh on said:

      Dave is a typical hypocrite. Had a liberal football player boycotted the White House celebration involving a GOP president, then the PLAYER would be anti-American and racist. Birk is an idiot for what he did. I doubt he would have found himself in any deep discussions with Obama on social issues. He should have attended the event with his team. Not every player or coach that did attend voted for Obama.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      I understand. But I think he made a mistake. His absence made it about politics and that’s not what the day was intended to be about.

      • Ben on said:

        Completely agree with you, Tony. I had plenty of philosophical and political differences with President Bush (and have a few with President Obama for that matter) but you’d better believe that if I were a Superbowl-winning football player, I’d be there to accept congratulations from the President, no matter who is in office. Additionally, I don’t really think that the President’s stance on abortion is that effectual nor does it bleed into his policies all that much. I’m sure others will disagree but I can’t imagine the trade off was worth it to Birk.

  2. Owlen on said:

    Tony I enjoy your site but when your start assuming and interjecting your feelings on matters as inflammatory as Abortion and strong political feelings the site stops being about the Ravens, Matt has strong options on moral and social issues and felt he needed to make a stance for those issues,it’s about the issues not Matts teammates I believe a Harvard grad probably knows what he’s doing and pretty confident that he does not regret any decisions he makes one way or the other.

      • John B on said:

        You said he should put them aside. It is refreshing when a person values religious or other ethical convictions above a game or employment. I have not read where the Ravens or his teammates showed the disrespect for his right to prioritize his values as you have.

    • Jeff M. on said:

      Matt and his strong options on moral and social issues yet he didn’t feel the need to take a stand and speak out against the molestation of young boys by Catholic priest he didn’t want to use the platform the NFL has provided him to bring awareness or put pressure on the Catholic Church if someone of his statue had spoken out maybe some of those priest would have been denounced by the church and not transferred to other parishes to continue their path of destruction

      • karl on said:

        The day there are guys/Priests marching in Washington for the right to molest little boys/girls then we will speak out.

        Don’t use one sin that’s not socially acceptable to excuse socially accepting sins of homosexuality and abortion.

    • Rich on said:

      Actually, he is a bigot. Glad he did not attend. His former teammate Brendon Ayanbadejo…now there is a man of integrity.

  3. Ernie on said:

    All Championship teams visiting The White House is 100% political. Hats off to Matt for standing firm with his beliefs.

  4. Jeremy Johnson on said:

    To make it about politics is sad. Tony was right, it’s about the team. Does Birk refuse to sign autographs for people who disagree with him? I’m sure he has signed and had his picture with many people who have different political/religious opinions. Players don’t seem to have a problem when they get paid for autograph sessions.


  5. Your English Teacher on said:

    More to the point, did Birk ever return the 70% of his paycheck that came from fans whose position on abortion he disagrees with?

    I agree that everyone has a right to make a political statement (it’s America for godsakes!), but I also believe that Matt Birk (and the other guys who chose not to attend) will regret their decisions.

  6. pvrcbabe on said:

    Sorry Tony, I have to disagree with you. He stood on his principles and chose to not go. I don’t think that he will regret it all. He got to celebrate with his teammates on Friday night at the Ring Ceremony. The visit with the president is just a long standing tradition that really means nothing in the entire scheme of things.

  7. Dav on said:

    This is America and Birk can do as he feels. I happen to agree with him 100 percent and would have done the same. As for democrats or liberals doing the same to a Republican President, I would feel the same way if they felt passionately about something as Birk obviously does. Friday’s ring ceremony was about the team, not the White House tour. Obviously, the sequester didn’t interfere with the another party for the president!

  8. aviano87 on said:

    Wow! Just read the comments and have to ask Dave: Is it just the racist black President that you hate? Or is it the black Ravens GM, black Ravens players, or all black people period? You really need to educate yourself about the word racist!!

  9. purpleneons on said:

    Matt Birk believes baby dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark. Matt Birk believes in fairy tales. Matt Birk believes he is better than you.

    Nice guy, but profoundly ignorant and delusional.

  10. John on said:

    It’s Burk’s decision. Leave him alone. I don’t like Obama either, but would have attended. But that’s my decision. Matt’s allowed to do something different. It’s America. And the notion that he’s a bigot for it is ludicrous.

  11. bogeyroy on said:

    Let’s just talk football on this site and leave the Religion, Politics etc. to CNN, MSNBC etc. Birk made a chioice, we don’t have to like it, but this is a football website.

  12. Mitch on said:

    There is something here that some fail to grasp. In your heart of hearts, if you felt an individual was responsible for strongly advocating, sponsoring and passing legislation and policy that assisted in the killing of a million innocent children in this country each year, I am sure you would not attend either. That is the position of the Catholic church, and Matt being a committed Catholic, holds that belief. This is what he believes very strongly and so do miliions of others. For us, its not a matter of political correctness, its about our very strong belief that life begins at conception. Sports are wonderful and nothing is more integral than TEAM in sports. There are many things more important in life than SPORTS orTEAM, and this is one of them. I know Matt is well respected among the Ravens, is a class act, and a model of integrity. I and many others salute him.

  13. JerryB on said:

    Birk is to be respected as a principled person….there aren’t very many these days! I might have handled it differently, but I certainly respect the man for standing up for his beliefs! Always hate to see a player of Leach’s stature and ability go, but there is such a long list of great blocking backs in this team’s history, that it’s been a relatively easy position to fill.

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