The Baltimore Ravens made it official today, cutting Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach after they were unable to work out a trade following attempts to restructure his contract.
The Ravens are replacing him on the roster with veteran blocking tight end Billy Bajema, who was on the team last season as the third tight end.
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has submitted the paperwork to the league office for Leach to be removed from the roster immediately. He's now a free agent and expected to be in demand from teams looking for a traditional blocking fullback.
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“We’ve had lots of discussion in the past week with Vonta and his agent, and both parties agreed that it was best to terminate Vonta’s contract,” Newsome said in a statement. “He played a significant role in helping us get to the AFC championship game in 2011 and win the Super Bowl last season. He added to our toughness and will to win, plus he provided leadership. He’s a good football player. There could be an opportunity for him to return to the Ravens once he explores the free agent market, and we could revisit this before or during training camp.”
Leach already said goodbye via his official Twitter account Monday night after The Baltimore Sun reported that he would be either released or traded Tuesday.
"Thank Ravens organization for a great two years," Leach wrote. "I came here and did what we set out to do and that's win the Super Bowl. My time here is up but what we accomplished, we will forever be linked."
Leach was due a $3 million base salary and carries a $4.33 million salary-cap figure. So, the Ravens will save a total of $3 million against the salary cap while still carrying $1.33 million in dead money from the prorated portion of Leach's three-year, $11 million contract that included a $4 million signing bonus.
Former Harvard fullback Kyle Juszczyk was drafted in the fourth round in April and will be the new starting fullback. At 6 feet 1, 248 pounds, Juszczyk still has to establish himself as a blocking presence in the NFL.
Juszczyk, who caught 125 career passes in the Ivy League for 1,576 yards and 22 touchdowns before excelling at the Senior Bowl, is expected to have a versatile, pass-catching role that includes lining up at fullback, tight end and H-back