POINT: Vonta Leach is an Unnecessary Luxury

Leach Bailey

The Dolphins have made it clear they’re not signing free-agent fullback Vonta Leach prior to the start of training camp.

The Giants only offered him a one-year deal at the veteran minimum ($925,000).

In Baltimore, the Ravens have offered Leach a $2 million base salary with $1 million of incentives according to ESPN‘s Chris Mortensen. Apparently, the Ravens offer seems to be the best on the table, with Leach and the Dolphins never even discussing money according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.

It seems wise for Leach to accept the Ravens’ offer, but at this point in training camp, do the Ravens really need him?

Chances are, Leach is likely heading back to Baltimore, if roster moves made by the organization prior to the start of camp are any indication, according to Russell Street Report‘s salary cap specialist, Brian McFarland. McFarland tweeted:

“Coincidence? Vonta Leach apparently close to decision to sign – Ravens an option. Yesterday, Ravens released a WR & now have 1 open Roster spot.”

“Teams usually don’t release a rookie before 1st day of camp, except to open roster spot for someone else. Perhaps, just coincidence or ….”

With Leach off of the Ravens books and all of their rookies signed, the team currently sits at $5.299 million under the salary cap according to McFarland. The Ravens certainly have the money to bring Leach back but reducing their cap number by $2 million isn’t likely the wisest move for the franchise.

A major hole remains at wide receiver as the Ravens look to replace Anquan Boldin, traded during the offseason to the 49ers for a sixth-round pick. Given that the Ravens need to allocate a few million dollars during the season to account for potential injuries, they will likely not be left with the option of signing a more notable free agent name like Brandon Lloyd or Austin Collie if Leach’s contract goes back on the books at the reported number.

The best option for the Ravens would be to make a trade as they did in 2011 for wide receiver Lee Evans. In hindsight, the trade turned out to be a disaster, but it was impossible for Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome to know that Evans would get hurt in training camp and go on to have the biggest drop in franchise history, costing the Ravens a berth in the Super Bowl.

Surrendering a draft pick is almost a necessity to bring in an impact player to help reigning Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco and complement wide receiver Torrey Smith. The Ravens are relying on Jacoby Jones to step up into the #2 receiver role, which many fans are uncomfortable with. Adding to that feeling is that training camp hasn’t gotten off to an ideal start for him as he failed his preliminary conditioning test, much to the disgust of head coach John Harbaugh.

While most of the Ravens fan base loves Leach, there are far greater needs at this point. The only major benefit the Ravens would likely see with Leach in offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell’s system is helping to minimize the damage done to the body of running back Ray Rice. Still, that appears to be a gamble the Ravens are willing to take, judging by their recent actions.

The Ravens addressed their fullback need by drafting Kyle Juszczyk out of Harvard in the fourth round (130th overall). Juszczyk is taller than Leach and is pretty muscular as well. He’ll be able to block for running backs but it’s unfair to expect him to bulldoze players as we’ve grown accustomed to with Leach.

For my money, I’m taking Juszczyk in Caldwell’s system and saving that money to upgrade the wide receiver position. Bringing Leach back is the popular decision in Baltimore, but given the financial complications if he is signed for anything higher than the veteran minimum, which could severely handicap the team during a time of need in another offensive position, they may be better off moving on without him.

 

For another perspective on the topic of Vonta Leach CLICK HERE.

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About Kris Jones

Kris Jones
Kris - or "Goob" as he's widely known - has turned an obsession into a career. As a media member by day and super fan by night, he reports from the Under Armour Performance Center twice per week and brings Ravens news from a fan's perspective. His popular YouTube series...more

6 Raves on “POINT: Vonta Leach is an Unnecessary Luxury

  1. Money on said:

    Hey, Goob, maybe the Ravens can get Leach at a reduced price and he could add value for another Super Bowl run. He is probably more valuable to the team than you think. Plus there are lots of young wide receivers who need to get a chance to step up by getting a lot of playing time this year. Bringing in an expensive wide receiver would probably be a bigger waste of money than bringing back Vonta.

  2. Chris on said:

    I didnt like Leach contract when he signed origanally and I dont care for this reduced offer. Even if the Ravens dont sign a wideout, we can carry that money over to next year. We need all the future space we can get. Flacco´s deal is not a problem this season but eventually that number is going to bloom and make it harder to re-sign our guys. Oher, Jones, Pitta, and Dickson are all up for contracts next season. The year after Torrey, Jimmy, Mcphee and others will be on the verge of unrestricted free agency. Every little bit counts.

  3. Navin on said:

    Eventhough, Ravens sign Vonta this season, they will be likely to release him for 2014th with Juszczyk in the roster. May be Vonta understands this and looking for a longer term like 2-3 years with a team.

    This may be also a reason Vonta is delaying his decision to sign with Ravens.

  4. Mike Rice on said:

    I think he would go to Miami than to sign back with Baltimore at league minimum. The SB win ended that discussion. I think he’s holding out for that multi-year deal that just not that likely to happen. The highest dollar will win out. He already knows he facing a diminishing role if he comes back. This likely his last payday so i don’t blame him for wanting the biggest bang for the buck.

  5. melvin on said:

    I think without leach, jacoby Jones doesn’t have his monster year as a specialist. That means we lose a game to Pittsburgh, one to Dallas, and probably don’t make the playoffs. If we did manage to make the playoffs and superbowl, we lose there by three.

    You can’t under value great special teams play. And he’s great on offense to… when he’s in.

    • Kris on said:

      Melvin,

      Vonta Leach was pivotal on Jacoby’s return in the Super Bowl but most of the blocking credit for Jacoby’s success goes to Anthony Allen, not Vonta Leach.

      Special teams guys are a dime a dozen and the Ravens already had an expensive special team’s guy in Brendon Ayanbadejo. If someone is going to command what is deemed more than market value on special teams, they certainly better pull their weight on either offense and defense, and the Ravens just simply didn’t use Leach enough to make his $3 million base salary worthwhile.

      Don’t get me wrong, I really like Leach…. but I’d rather have a wide receiver.

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