Just last offseason, the Ravens signed Pollard to a contract extension. This extension gave Pollard a cap hit of $3.25 million this season with a base salary of $2 million. He also had a roster bonus due soon that was worth $500,000. This move will save the Ravens $1 million in cap space.
This is a surprising move for the Ravens. Pollard led the team in tackles this season with 98 and was a key part of the defense. Pollard was the thumper for the defense, constantly dishing out big hits. He is also a very good run defender and blitzer.
What also makes this move questionable is that the Ravens only save $1 million in cap. If Pollard was making a much higher number, it would be understandable to cut him. Every dollar counts in cap but, there was no speculation that Pollard would be a cap casualty.
One potential reason of this cut, as suggested by ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, is that the Ravens are trying to change the personality of the locker room. Pollard is a quality player but has been on three teams in seven years, so it is possible that he wore out his welcome. Other
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Another possible reason for the cut is that Pollard is part of a dying breed in the NFL. He is the strong, hard-hitting safety that many teams just don’t have anymore. The NFL is becoming more of a passing league so you need two safeties who are good in pass coverage. Pollard isn’t good in pass coverage, and never has been. While he didn’t give up a touchdown in coverage last season, he did allow a 75% of passes thrown his way to be completed. Still, this alone can’t be enough to cut a player.
The only other possibility that I can think of for Pollard being cut is that the Ravens are worried about his knack for being penalized for his hard hits. The NFL is becoming stricter and stricter on helmet-to-helmet contact on “defenseless” receivers. Now, I put that in quotes because it seems that more then half of the penalties called under this rule are bogus and are good, clean hits. Anyways, the Ravens could be worried that Pollard is on his way to a suspension because of these hits, just like what happened to Ed Reed (though he appealed and won).
The job of replacing Pollard will fall to two people, as of right now. They are James Ihedigbo and Christian Thompson. Ihedigbo was re-signed to a one year deal just before free agency started. Thompson was a 4th round draft pick in last year’s draft out of South Carolina State. As of right now it would be Ihedigbo’s job to lose but, there probably would be a competition in training camp. I would expect the the Ravens to draft a safety in the upcoming draft to help add to this competition and, the might sign a veteran to a cheap deal later on in free agency.