In late July, the Ravens released four veterans who had played critical roles for the team in years past. To clear salary cap space, the Ravens said sayonara to Todd Heap, Derrick Mason, Kelly Gregg and Willis McGahee.
Heap returns to Baltimore on Sunday as a member of the Arizona Cardinals, but he might be sporting street clothes at M&T Bank Stadium. After catches 13 passes in the team’s first four games, he has been sidelined with a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Heap’s primary heir apparent, Ed Dickson, has 22 receptions in six games.
The release of Heap and Co. was met with some criticism, but three months later, the replacements have fared well for the 4-2 Ravens. I mentioned Dickson, who along with Dennis Pitta has been productive at tight end. Torrey Smith added a dimension of deep speed that Mason lacked (though the passing game is struggling). Terrence Cody has been a mountain in the middle. And Ricky Williams is averaging 4.4 yards per carry.
But each of the departed veterans, though they were aging, brought something to the table. Heap became a pretty good blocker the past few years. Mason was slowing down, but he was a security blanket for struggling quarterback Joe Flacco. Gregg was a great leader by example. And look at what McGahee is doing in Denver.
Which salary cap casualty do the Ravens miss most?
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