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Baltimore Ravens: Release of Michael Huff and Marcus Spears Was Necessary

Yahoo Contributor Network
COMMENTARY | On Wednesday, the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens made two surprising roster decisions, releasing safety Michael Huff and defensive end Marcus Spears.

To replace the two, the team promoted safeties Omar Brown and Brynden Trawick from the practice squad, putting the team's safety total at five on the active roster.

The roster moves were likely made to bolster a special teams coverage unit that has struggled mightily this season, partly due to the poor play of Huff, who wasn't even supposed to be a major special teams contributor when he was signed.

During free agency, the Ravens added the veteran safety by signing him to a three-year deal that included a $1.5 million signing bonus. The addition of Huff to the team was intended to fill the void left at free safety when Ed Reed departed for Houston, however a poor performance at Denver in Week 1 led to a benching for Huff.

After the debacle in Denver, Huff's starting job went to rookie Matt Elam, and Elam has held onto the job ever since. Huff was relegated to special teams, and rarely saw the field defensively.

It's hard to label a player making $6 million over three years a "bust," but it's safe to say Huff's short-lived tenure in Baltimore was nothing short of a disappointment.

The same can be said for Spears.

Signed to a two-year, $2.75 million deal that included a $600,000 roster bonus, the goal was to have Spears contribute heavily at defensive end, mainly in run defense. But nagging injuries held Spears back, and he failed to crack the regular rotation. The emergences of rookie Brandon Williams and second-year defensive end DeAngelo Tyson didn't help Spears' cause either, and it was evident that the Ravens wanted to turn toward the future and give the young guys a chance to contribute.

Neither veteran lived up to their contract in the first seven games of the regular season, and with the welcomed development of younger players at their respective positions, releasing the two veterans was a smart move.

It is never a good sign when a team releases two free-agent signees midway through the first season with the team, and the only good that can come from this is that the Ravens may be reassured why they have had so much success building through the draft, not via free agency.

Kyle Casey is a sports writer living in Baltimore, Md. He is the co-editor of Baltimore Ravens Draft and contributes to Russell Street Report.

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