Shortly after Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith shook hands and the NFL lockout ended, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome issued a statement. "We will be making a number of roster moves in the next 48 hours that will free up salary cap space," he said. It didn't take long for us to find out who would be moved.
The Baltimore Sun reported Monday evening that veteran Ravens and fan favorites Todd Heap, Derrick Mason, Kelly Gregg and Willis McGahee would be released to free up some much-needed salary cap space.
"Oh my God, I'm shocked," Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson said, echoing the thoughts of Ravens fans.
Jubilation that football was back quickly ran head-first into the harsh reality that football is still a business -- in case we had somehow forgotten in the few hours since the ugly four-month labor battle had been resolved.
"In this profession, you have to be prepared to go at any time," said Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, one of several veterans who were rumored to be on the cutting block. "Just because they didn't cut you now doesn't mean they won't do it later. Eventually, it happens to 100 percent of us. That's the nature of the beast."
Gone are Mason and Heap, the top two receivers in team history. Ditto for Gregg, who was built like a refrigerator with arms and legs, and McGahee, who was the team’s top back for two seasons.
There is a chance that one or more of the released veterans could return -- Mason has publicly stated his interest in staying in Baltimore -- but as we saw with Trevor Pryce last season when he signed with Rex Ryan and the Jets, there are no guarantees.
So let’s assume none of these guys come back.
Your turn: Which of these fours cuts was the deepest? Which will you miss the most? And which will the Ravens miss the most?