The Ravens have "tough decisions" to make in the next two weeks to free up salary-cap space before free agency, but there are no plans for running back Justin Forsett to be among the cap casualties.
Some have speculated that Forsett could be released, but Head John Harbaugh dismissed that thought. When asked if he expects Forsett to be part of the team next year, Harbaugh quickly responded, "Absolutely."
Forsett, 30, is entering the second season of a three-year deal that he signed before last season. The veteran ball carrier has been the starter in Baltimore the last two years, and he'll have to earn that spot again in a crowded Baltimore backfield that could also see Trent Richardson added to the mix.
"The featured back will be the best back, and to me Justin Forsett certainly fits the bill," Harbaugh said. "He's proven that already."
Forsett started 10 games last year before suffering a broken arm that landed him on injured reserve. He finished the season with 151 carries for 641 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 31 catches for 153 receiving yards.
The injury to his arm is not expected to hold him back at all this year, and Harbaugh said the issue has already healed.
"His wrist is good," Harbaugh said. "He has one of those injuries that is really predictable."
When Forsett went down, the Ravens turned to rookie Buck Allen to fill in as the featured back for the last six games. Allen showed great promise in those starts and he finished the year with 137 carries for 514 rushing yards and a touchdown. The quality pass catcher also hauled in 45 catches for 353 yards and two scores.
Allen will push Forsett for snaps, and the Ravens also have young ball carriers Terrance West (exclusive right free agent) and Lorenzo Taliaferro (returning from foot injury) in the mix. With Forsett, Allen, West, Taliaferro and potentially Richardson vying for snaps, running back has quickly become one of the most intriguing position battles of the offseason.
"There's not a better person, there's not a better guy [than Forsett]," Harbaugh said. "He understands everything we're doing inside and out. I love him. But we're going to put the guy out there that is gaining the most yards."