What Has/Will Happen To All The Cut Ravens?
The Ravens front office made some unexpected moves this weekend, messing up several analysts' predicted 53-man roster (including my own).
Some of their former players have already moved on to other teams, others could be back and some are stuck in free agency limbo waiting for another franchise to call.
Here's a look at what has happened to the former Ravens, and speculation on what could happen with others:
RB Bobby Rainey Now A Cleveland Brown
The Ravens took a risk by releasing second-year running back Bobby Rainey after a strong preseason, capped off by an impressive finale performance in which he ran for two touchdowns that were each initially stopped at the line of scrimmage.
Many believed Rainey was the top candidate for the Ravens practice squad when his release was announced. Baltimore Beatdown's Jason Butt noted that Rainey's nameplate above his locker was still present Sunday, an indication that Baltimore planned on trying to bring him back.
But the team never got a chance to do so as the AFC North rival Cleveland Browns swooped in and claimed Rainey off waivers.
As much as Rainey probably would have liked to remain in Baltimore, he appears happy with the fact that he made a 53-man roster.
Hensley: Wouldn't Be Surprised If Williams Returns
Seeing as wide receiver LaQuan Williams was a fan favorite (a local product who worked hard to play for the team he grew up rooting for), many wouldn't mind seeing Jamison Hensley's prediction come true.
"It wouldn't surprise me if Williams was brought back at some point this season," the ESPN blogger wrote. "He is a solid special teams player."
If Williams does return, it would be a rare move for somebody in his situation.
The Ravens waived the injured receiver after he suffered a strained hamstring in Thursday night's preseason finale against the St. Louis Rams. An injury settlement is expected, according to The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson.
"Williams was on schedule to return at some point this season, but he is expected to reach an agreement with the Ravens to be compensated with an undisclosed amount of weeks of pay as he was waived off the roster," Wilson wrote. "Williams is subject to waivers and is eligible for injured reserve if he clears waivers."
If the Ravens had placed Williams on injured reserve without releasing him, it would have ended his season. As @RavensSalaryCap (Brian McFarland) pointed out, an injury settlement allows him to re-sign later this season once he is healthy.
However, an injury settlement is usually a sign of both sides moving on.
With six receivers already on the roster, including rookies Marlon Brown and Aaron Mellette, Williams' services on offense weren't as critical.
And while he could be brought back for special teams, the Ravens claimed former Falcons linebacker Robert James off waivers, another special teams standout that made 10 special teams tackles last season.
TE Bajema Expected Back
The Ravens only have one healthy tight end on the roster in Dallas Clark. But that will likely change this week.
Not only is tight end Ed Dickson expected to be ready for the Week 1 opener in Denver, but the Ravens may have moves to make at their tight end position Tuesday.
Injured Dennis Pitta likely will be placed on injured reserve with the designation to return, but that can't happen until Tuesday.
Once the move is made, it will open a roster spot.
The Ravens could bring back tight end Billy Bajema after cutting him Saturday, according to a Wilson source.
Undrafted rookie Matt Furstenburg was signed to the Ravens practice squad after also being waived Saturday.
Doss Goes Unclaimed, BecomesFree Agent
Perhaps the biggest name to be cut from the Ravens roster was former fourth-round pick Tandon Doss.
Doss went from battling for the No. 2 receiver job to becoming a roster casualty. But that doesn't mean he won't succeed elsewhere. He has loads of talent as a speedy route-runner with reliable hands, but he and quarterback Joe Flacco never seemed to get on the same page.
"He never had the same chemistry with quarterback Joe Flacco that rookies Marlon Brown and Aaron Mellette did," wrote Hensley. "Doss' stock with the Ravens plummeted in the third preseason game, when Flacco threw an interception because Doss ran the wrong route."
Things didn't work out in Baltimore, but John Harbaugh expects to see him in another NFL uniform.
"He definitely played well enough to make our team, but you take the 53 guys that fit the best, and there are a lot of other considerations that go into that, and you put it all together and make a decision," the head coach said. "Tandon Doss is going to play football in this league, guaranteed, and he's going to have a very good career. I've said that all along, and I still believe that to be true."
Of the 20 players that were cut over the weekend, here's where they currently stand.
|WR LaQuan Williams||on waiver wire, injury settlement expected|
|WR Tandon Doss||cleared waivers, free agent|
|G Antoine McClain||claimed by Raiders off waivers|
|RB Bobby Rainey||claimed by Browns off waivers|
|TE Billy Bajema||cleared waivers, free agent|
|RB Anthony Allen||cleared waivers, free agent|
|CB Marc Anthony||cleared waivers, free agent|
|ILB Nigel Carr||cleared waivers, free agent|
|RB Delone Carter||cleared waivers, free agent|
|QB Dayne Crist||cleared waivers, free agent|
|T Rogers Gaines||cleared waivers, free agent|
|TE Alex Silvestro||cleared waivers, free agent|
|QB Caleb Hanie||cleared waivers, free agent|
|TE Matt Furstenburg||signed to Ravens practice squad|
|S Omar Brown||signed to Ravens practice squad|
|ILB Brandon Copeland||signed to Ravens practice squad|
|T Jordan Devey||signed to Ravens practice squad|
|DT Cody Larsen||signed to Ravens practice squad|
|C Reggie Stephens||signed to Ravens practice squad|
|T J.J. 'Unga||signed to Ravens practice squad|
Ray Lewis Indicates Super Bowl Blackout Was No Accident
Retired Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has a conspiracy theory.
He shared that theory from NFL Films' latest version of "America's Game," which chronicles Super Bowl winners and is scheduled to air tonight on the NFL Network.
The infamous third-quarter blackout in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome seems too shady for Lewis to believe it was a simple accident.
"I'm not gonna accuse nobody of nothing — because I don't know facts. But you're a zillion-dollar company, and your lights go out? No. No way," Lewis said, per Nate Davis of USA Today.
"Now listen, if you grew up like I grew up — and you grew up in a household like I grew up — then sometimes your lights might go out, because times get hard. I understand that. But you cannot tell me somebody wasn't sitting there and when they say, 'The Ravens [are] about to blow them out. Man, we better do something.' … That's a huge shift in any game, in all seriousness. And as you see how huge it was because it let them right back in the game."
More than 30 minutes later, the lights were restored, but the Ravens'* *momentum was gone and the 49ers came back from 28-6 down. Baltimore was barely able to hold off the comeback, winning 34-31.
Lewis' comments didn't go unnoticed by the San Francisco franchise. 49ers CEO Jed York had a classic response in a tweet that made it into MMQB's quotes of the week.
"@profootballtalk there is no conspiracy. I pulled the plug," York tweeted after the website's piece on Lewis was published.
Peter King called Lewis' conspiracy "the silliest thing I've heard a player say in a long, long time. And that encompasses a lot of silliness."
He added. "Lewis doesn't need advice from me, but he should have stopped at, 'I'm not going to accuse nobody of nothing.'"
- @mzenitz [Carroll County Times]: The Bills announced that former Ravens WR Tommy Streeter has been signed to their practice squad
- @mattvensel: No offense to Robert James, the new #Ravens linebacker, but I had not heard of him. He played 16 games for Atlanta in 2012 but mostly on ST.
- @MikeKlis [Denver Post]: CB Champ Bailey is out with team stretch although he's not practicing. The boot is off.
- @RavensInsider: Saints cut former Ravens cornerback Chris Carr, according to his agent: @ESG_Baker
- A good sign that Ed Reed will be ready for the Week 3 matchup against his former team … @AdamSchefter: Texans did not place S Ed Reed on PUP. He will be eligible to play week 1.
- @PMGleason: The 5-consecutive wins by @Ravens on Kickoff Weekend rank as the NFL's second-longest active streak (Patriots – 9)
- @RavensInsider: Peyton Manning on Dallas Clark: 'One of my favorite teammates. Short question doesn't do that justice. Great friend, glad to see he's back'
- @BaltimoreLuke [WNST]: Rookie offensive lineman Ryan Jensen remains on the 53-man roster for now despite breaking his foot early in camp. #Ravens
- @BaltimoreLuke: Walt Coleman and his crew will officiate Thursday's game between the #Ravens and #Broncos. Let the referee complaining for 2013 begin...
- @BaltSunSports: Ravens Insider: Ravens rookie Brynden Trawick fined $21,000 by NFL, appealing punishment
- @HensleyESPN: Ravens smart to start James Ihedigbo [Twitter]
- "I think the Ravens will be a very interesting chemistry experiment," wrote King. "Has there ever been a Super Bowl team that changed seven defensive starters? This one will. Joe Flacco will have a new snapper, Gino Gradkowski, after the retirement of Matt Birk; and he'll have two new targets in Dallas Clark and Brandon Stokley. I'm fascinated to see how different this team will be Thursday night in Denver." [MMQB.com]