The Ravens got down to the NFL roster limit of 53 players on Saturday as they released veteran cornerbacks Derek Cox and Dominique Franks, offensive guard A.Q. Shipley and rookie quarterback Keith Wenning.
The Ravens' release of Cox is regarded as procedural and he's expected to rejoin the team as soon as Sunday, according to a source. As a vested veteran, Cox is not subject to waivers.
The Ravens also cut offensive tackle Parker Graham, cornerback Tramain Jacobs, offensive guard Ryan Jensen, defensive tackles Jamie Meder and A.J. Pataiali'i, cornerback Sammy Seamster, outside linebacker John Simon, tight end Phillip Supernaw and running back Fitzgerald Tousssaint.
The Ravens placed rookie wide receiver Jeremy Butler on injured reserve with an AC shoulder joint injury.
Cox joined the Ravens earlier this week on a one-year, $730,000 contract and played well against the New Orleans Saints with three tackles and one pass deflection. The Ravens like Cox's size at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds and he's a former starter and Pro Bowl alternate with the Jacksonville Jaguars who was cut by the San Diego Chargers after being signed to a four-year, $20 million contract last year.
By cutting Wenning, the Ravens are going with two quarterbacks on the roster.
Drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the fifth round in 2010, Franks, 26, has 30 career tackles, three interceptions and nine passes defended in four NFL seasons with four career starts.
Franks played in all but one game as a reserve cornerback last season for the Falcons. He was released during their final major roster cutdown and was re-signed after working out for the Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers. Franks had a solid preseason with one interception, but was beaten for a touchdown by Dallas Cowboys star wide receiver Dez Bryant.
The Ravens cut Simon, a fourth-round draft pick last year from Ohio State.
Simon is a former Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He faced tough numbers at linebacker due to the presence of Pro Bowl outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil and veteran starter Courtney Upshaw. In seven games last season, Simon recorded four solo tackles on special teams.
Simon flashed some pass-rushing skills in the preseason finale against the New Orleans Saints with four quarterback hits, one sack and two tackles for losses. Simon is an avid weightlifter known for haunting the gym for countless hours. He has bench pressed 225 pounds 48 times and has a maximum bench press of over 450 pounds. He has also squatted 700 pounds.
Shipley started nine games last season at left offensive guard after starter Kelechi Osemele suffered a season-ending back injury.
Shipley's cut comes as something of a surprise considering he started games last season and was running second on the depth chart. Shipley is already drawing interest from multiple NFL teams.
"I've been around for a little while and you see it all the time, it's part of the deal," said left offensive tackle Eugene Monroe, who started next to Shipley last season on the left side after being traded to the Ravens from the Jacksonville Jaguars. "In a way, it happened to me during the middle of last year. You wish the best for the guys that get cut and you work with the guys that you have. Me and A.Q. battled together pretty much all of last season. Knowing what kind of guy he is, I know he'll stick somewhere and do well somewhere."
The converted center, acquired last year during an offseason trade from the Indianapolis Colts, had been concentrating on guard play this summer. Shipley is a 6-foot-1, 307-pound former Penn State lineman.
Last season, Shipley built his confidence while getting acclimated to a new position. He was thrown into the lineup against the Miami Dolphins after Osemele had back spasms.
The 6-foot-4, 306-pound Jensen, who was drafted in the sixth round in 2013 out of Colorado State-Pueblo, was inactive for all 16 games last year as a rookie. He experimented at right tackle before being moved back to guard.
Wenning is a sixth-round draft pick from Ball State.
Wenning completed 8 of 13 passes for 117 yards for a 90.9 quarterback rating Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints during a 22-13 victory at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Wenning appeared much more comfortable on the field than he did during the second half after a shaky performance against the Dallas Cowboys in which he fumbled and was sacked twice.
Wenning had a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to wide receiver Kamar Aiken overturned following an instant-replay review. He also connected with rookie wide receiver Michael Campanaro for a 39-yard reception.
A two-time team captain who school records at Ball State with 11,402 career yards and 92 touchdowns, Wenning said previously he definitely wants to sign with the Ravens' practice squad if he clears waivers.
Supernaw is a former Houston Texans player. He's expected to join the practice squad if he clears waivers.
Supernaw suffered a mild concussion against the New Orleans Sains, but a source said he's expected to pass the NFL concussion testing protocol, which involves a mandatory baseline neurological exam, by Tuesday.
Seamster is a strong candidate for the practice squad.
The athletic 6-foot, 200-pounder from Middle Tennessee State ran the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds and had a 35-inch vertical leap and a 10-4 broad jump. He visited the New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins and has free agent offers from roughly 20 teams after the draft.
Jacobs impressed the coaching staff with his cover skills and is expected to join the practice squad.
Jacobs played in 26 games in two seasons for Texas A&M, competing daily against Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans. He recorded 55 tackles, 39 solos, two interceptions and 13 pass deflections. He played two seasons at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he recorded 34 tackles, two interceptions and 13 pass deflections.
The Ravens have also cut undrafted rookie Fitzgerald Toussaint, according to a source.
Toussaint had an impressive game against the New Orleans Saints in the Ravens' preseason finale, running with power and vision to rush for a game-high 103 yards.
He could be signed to the Ravens' practice squad on Sunday if he clears waivers.
Toussaint auditioned for the Ravens at their rookie minicamp, earning a roster spot.
Toussaint played at Michigan, rushing for 648 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior last season. He caught 18 passes for 203 yards for the Wolverines last season.
In 2012, he suffered a season-ending leg injury and was limited to 530 yards and five touchdowns.
Toussaint rushed for 1,041 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011 when he earned All-Big Ten Conference honorable-mention honors.
The 5-foot-9, 204-pounder ran the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds at his campus Pro Day workout and bench pressed 225 pounds 24 times.
The Ravens also informed Pataiali’i they hope to sign him to their practice squad once he clears waivers, according to a source.
Meder is expected to join the practice squad if he clears waivers.
The Ravens also placed running back Ray Rice (two-game personal conduct policy suspension) and safety Will Hill (six-game substance-abuse policy suspension) on reserve-suspended lists and placed nose tackle Terrence Cody (hip surgery) on the reserve-physically unable to perform list.
Cody now has to miss at least the first six games.
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