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Ravens to release Heap and Mason in surprise cuts

A few hours after the lockout ended, the Ravens delivered some big surprises, informing tight end Todd Heap and wide receiver Derrick Mason that they will get released Thursday, according to league sources.

Releasing the top two pass catchers in Ravens history creates $9.1 million in salary-cap room. But the Ravens are looking to re-signing Heap (scheduled to make $4.6 million) and Mason ($4.5 million) to less money, sources said.

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Mason, 37, ranks first in the Ravens' existence in catches (471) and receiving yards (5,777). Heap, 31, is the Ravens' all-time leader in receiving touchdowns (41) and is second in receptions (467) and receiving yards (5,492)."It's part of the business," center Matt Birk said. "You're surprised, but you're not. It happens every year to guys. It's part of our game that is unfortunate for a lot of reasons. But the salary cap is a big reason why our game is so competitive and popular. Hopefully, the Ravens can find a way to re-sign them, but all of those guys will land on their feet somewhere."

The Ravens also will cut nose tackle Kelly Gregg ($3.5 million) and running back Willis McGahee ($6 million), sources said. Those four players will open up a total of $18.6 million of cap room.

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"Oh my God, I'm shocked," linebacker Jarret Johnson said. "Kelly and Heap are some of my best friends are on the team. Derrick and Willis have been such big contributors. No one is immune to it. That's all I can say."

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