TWO MINUTE OFFENSE: Pay cut or else for Leach?

Street Talk TWO MINUTE OFFENSE: Pay cut or else for Leach?

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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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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 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 and he hosts “The Fanimal” also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi.

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