4 Veterans the Baltimore Ravens Must Part with Before 2014 NFL Season

Jason MarcumCorrespondent IIIMarch 13, 2014

4 Veterans the Baltimore Ravens Must Part with Before 2014 NFL Season

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    Rob Carr/Associated Press

    In 2013, the Baltimore Ravens did a good job of replacing many of their aging veterans in favor of younger players with more upside.

    Guys like safety Ed Reed were let go in favor of a rookie like Matt Elam. This was the case in many areas of the team, but there were a few veterans who managed to hold on to a roster spot that probably shouldn't in 2014.

    The Ravens have several veterans on their roster who need to be cut or traded prior to the 2014 NFL season. Here are four players who fit that bill.

Sam Koch

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    Most NFL teams wouldn't save a lot of money by cutting their starting punter, but that isn't the case with Sam Koch and the Ravens.

    Koch ranked 13th in net punting average in 2013. For a punter being paid like one of the NFL's best, that's not going to cut it. 

    Koch is set to make $2.8 million in 2014, which is the eighth-highest of any NFL punter. According to Jamison Hensley of ESPN, the increased salary cap this year may be enough to save Koch's job.

    If the Ravens are able to find a younger option in the NFL draft, they may choose to draft him and cut Koch before the start of the 2014 season.

    The Minnesota Vikings used that strategy last year when they drafted Jeff Locke out of UCLA, allowing them to eventually cut Chris Kluwe and save $1.45 million

Jah Reid

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    The Ravens offensive line was a mess in 2013, and Jah Reid didn't do much to help it. They allowed 48 sacks, which was tied with the Buffalo Bills for the fourth-most allowed in the NFL in 2013. 

    As bad as the line was, Reid only managed to play 23 snaps that year. After starting six games in 2012, Reid was expected to get significantly more playing time than he ended up getting, and he appears to be falling out of favor with the Ravens.

    According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, Reid was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery following an altercation at a Florida strip club.

    Reid allegedly charged at and head-butted a man, and when a security guard tried to intervene, police said Reid punched him in the face.

    That's unacceptable if true, and because Reid has only one year left on his contract, the Ravens would be wise to cut or trade him now. 

Deonte Thompson

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    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Wide receiver was another area the Ravens struggled to get good production from in 2013. Outside of Torrey Smith, no other receiver had more than 524 receiving yards, and Deonte Thompson was expected to produce at that position. 

    He failed to do so, catching just 10 passes for 96 yards while appearing in just seven games. Making matters worse is that he was arrested and charged with suspicion of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun

    For his career, Thomson has played in just 13 games and caught 13 passes for 147 yards. Receiver isn't a position the Ravens have been deep at, and they need to look at someone other than Thompson if they want to change that. 

Ray Rice

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    After a 2013 season that saw him rush for just 660 yards and four touchdowns, the last thing Ray Rice needed was an offseason arrest.

    According to Justin Fenton of the Baltimore Sun, Rice was arrested in February for allegedly assaulting his fiancee at an Atlantic City casino. 

    If the Ravens want to get some extra cap space, they need to trade Rice. He signed a five-year, $35 million contract before the 2012 NFL season, and he's set to have a cap hit of $8.75 million in 2014, according to Spotrac.

    At age 27, he doesn't need to be getting that kind of money, as his play could worsen this coming season. With Bernard Pierce also having shown promise in his first two years in the NFL, Baltimore could afford to lose Rice and give more of his touches to Pierce. 

    If another team is willing to absorb Rice's contract with the hope that he'll rekindle his Pro Bowl form in 2014, the Ravens shouldn't hesitate to deal him away. 

    It wouldn't make much sense from a financial standpoint to cut Rice, though. According to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, cutting Rice now would result in a $5.5 million salary-cap hit in 2014.

    If the Ravens want to get rid of Rice like they should, they need to do so via a trade in order for it to really benefit them.