Baltimore Ravens' Loss of Vonta Leach Might Not Be As Bad As You Think

Mike Fast@@michaelfast1Contributor IJune 17, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 03:  Vonta Leach #44 of the Baltimore Ravens runs with the ball against Tarell Brown #25 and Donte Whitner #31 of the San Francisco 49ers during Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It's never easy to cut a three-time first-team All-Pro, but the Baltimore Ravens did just that on Tuesday when they let go of Vonta Leach, the NFL's best fullback.

According to The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson, the Ravens saved $3 million in cap space by cutting Leach. Baltimore still is charged $1.33 million in dead money (money that is not allowed to be spent by the team).

Saving $3 million is a big deal, especially considering how close the Ravens are to a Super Bowl. The last thing you want is for your team to be on the verge of the playoffs, incur a big injury and not have enough cap space to sign a suitable replacement.

Besides, the Ravens will need all the cap space they can get when the 2014 offseason begins. Next year, the Ravens will have to negotiate with 14 unrestricted free agents, nine of whom started at least three games last season.

Leach spent two years with the Ravens. In 2011, he helped their rushing attack finish 10th. In 2012, the rushing attack finished the year ranked 11th.

Though he was most noted for his bruising blocking, Leach averaged 4.9 yards per touch (21 carries, 36 receptions, 279 total yards) and scored one touchdown in his time in Baltimore.

Leach is obviously very good. But with the opportunity to save $3 million, and considering they just drafted FCS first-team All-American fullback Kyle Juszczyk (yous-check), the Ravens probably made the right decision.

Juszczyk can play H-back (a player who is like a tight end and a fullback, who is often in motion before the snap) as well as fullback, which will help diversify Baltimore's offense.

Last year, the Ravens threw the ball on 55.8 percent of their offensive plays. Joe Flacco could be throwing even more now, as he's entering the prime of his career. Therefore, having a pure fullback on the roster isn't one of Baltimore's high priorities.

To be clear, Leach is playing at a very high level. You cannot be named the best player at your position for three years running and suddenly fall off. Quite honestly, money made the Ravens make this decision.

After his knowledge of the Ravens' plans, Leach tweeted the following, thanking the organization and fans:

However, this may not be goodbye after all.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said Tuesday, via Ryan Mink of, "There could be an opportunity for him to return to the Ravens once he explores the free agent market, and we could re-visit this before or during training camp."

So you're saying there's a possibility the Ravens re-sign Leach after he explores free agency at a reduced price?

A brilliant yet typical Newsome maneuver.