Continuing to shake up their roster during their bye week, the Baltimore Ravens have cut veterans Michael Huff and Marcus Spears. Taking their place on the 53-man roster are safeties Omar Brown and Brynden Trawick.
Both Huff and Spears were signed this offseason after they were released by the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys respectively.
Huff was signed to a three-year deal worth $6 million and Spears signed a two-year deal worth $3.55 million. Since both players are vested veterans, there is no salary cap relief this season as their contracts became fully guaranteed when they made the roster at the start of the season. Next year's salary cap is changed though with $2.5 million cleared, but there will be $1.3 million in dead money on the cap due to guarantees on their contracts.
Huff was supposed to replace Ed Reed at free safety this season, but was benched after three quarters in the season opener against the Denver Broncos in favor of first-round pick Matt Elam. Since then, Huff has played special teams and very sparingly on defense. On special teams, Huff struggled and was the contain player against the Steelers in week seven when Emmanuel Sanders returned a kickoff 44 yards setting up the game-winning drive. It could have been worse on this play but Sanders barely stepped out-of-bounds saving the touchdown. He leaves the Ravens having made six tackles.
Spears was only active for five of the Ravens' seven games this season due to injuries and missed most of the preseason as well. In these five games, he recorded ten tackles and started week three against the Houston Texans due to an injury to Chris Canty. Third-round pick Brandon Williams had been outplaying Spears this season and impressed when he wasn't active, which led to his release.
Taking their spots on the roster are Brown and Trawick who were on the practice squad.
Brown impressed in the preseason last year and this season as the ball seems to find him whenever he is on the field.
Trawick initially made the Ravens roster, but was cut after appearing in three games. In these games, he made three tackles — all of which came on special teams. He is also the player that ran into Jacoby Jones in the season opener, which sprained Jones' MCL and kept him out for a few weeks.
With two open spots on the practice squad, the Ravens signed quarterback Nick Stephens and wide receiver Kamar Aiken. Stephens spent the preseason with the Cowboys and Aiken was with the New England Patriots.
By bringing Brown and Trawick up to the active roster, the Ravens now have six safeties on the roster. This is likely to change next week when cornerback Asa Jackson comes off of his eight-game suspension.
These two moves were done to try and improve the Ravens' weak special teams units which have struggled all season. Both Brown and Trawick will contribute there. Spears wasn't able to and Huff wasn't good enough to.
While these moves come as a surprise and indicate the Ravens failed in free agency, the silver lining is both Huff and Spears were out-played by rookies which means the Ravens 2013 draft class is coming along nicely.