The Ravens have informed veteran defensive end Chris Canty that they will not be picking up his 2016 contract option.
Letting Canty walk reportedly saves about $2 million against the salary cap. When pairing that with Joe Flacco’s contract extension and Daryl Smith’s release, the Ravens would have reportedly cleared $10.6 million in salary-cap space in the past two days.
“I called Chris to thank him for what he has done for the Ravens,” General Manager Ozzie Newsome stated. “He has been an impactful player for us on and off the field.”
Canty, an 11-year veteran, has been a regular starter and leader for the Ravens over the last three seasons.
He notched 30 tackles and two sacks in 2013, 33 tackles and a half sack in 2014 and 19 tackles and one sack last season.
According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Canty was the Ravens’ fifth-best defensive player in 2015, receiving a positive-6.3 rating.
The 33-year-old veteran has dealt with more injuries in recent years, however. A calf injury knocked Canty out for four games early in the season and he finished the year on injured reserve due to a torn pectoral muscle.
Canty told PFT Live that he still wants to continue to play. He’s not ready to retire and possibly enter a career in broadcast journalism, something he has done a lot of over the past few years.
“I’ve been taking it year to year for the past four seasons,” Canty said. “Just as long as I can continue to go out there and play at a high level, I’m going to definitely be out there, because it’s a privilege, it’s an honor to be a part of the National Football League, it’s rich tradition and history.”
The Ravens released Canty last offseason only to sign him back three weeks later.
Much like Smith, who was also released Thursday, Canty has provided guidance for many of the team’s younger players, especially along the defensive line. He was also a frequent visitor in the community.
“Chris was a leader for our young defensive line, especially last season,” Head Coach John Harbaugh stated. “For three years, he has been a reliable force on the field, in our locker room and in our community. He has been highly-productive as a player, and even better as a leader.”
Baltimore is a little more prepared for his departure this time around, as Lawrence Guy played well in Canty’s absence last season, making 46 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 16 games and six starts.
The Ravens also have rising third-year player Brent Urban, who they have high hopes for moving forward. The 6-foot-7, 295-pound Urban missed his entire rookie season because of a torn ACL, then was sidelined for 10 games last year because of a torn biceps. He returned to make 11 tackles and one sack in the final six games.