Ravens cut Vonta Leach

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We heard Monday that the Ravens would either trade or cut fullback Vonta Leach after talks on a restructured contract failed to lead to an agreement.

Tuesday brought the answer to which of those routes Baltimore would be taking. The team announced that they have released Leach, who spent the last two seasons helping clear holes for Ray Rice on the Ravens offense.

Leach had a $3 million base salary for the 2013 season, the final year of a three-year deal he signed with the Ravens before the 2011 season. He said last week that he hoped to remain with the Ravens and suggested he’d be open to revisiting his contract, but whatever the Ravens were offering clearly wasn’t amenable to the fullback. Leach was still productive last season and shouldn’t have too much trouble finding other interested teams even though the role of fullbacks has generally declined around the league in recent years.

The Ravens drafted Kyle Juszczyk in the fourth round in April and he’ll be the first man up to replace Leach in the lineup.

95 responses to “Ravens cut Vonta Leach

  1. This hurts not only the FB position, but also the RB position and any goal-to-go situations.

    Thanks Leeeeeeach!

  2. I’ve been one of the biggest defenders of Flacco’s contract (the Ravens had no choice, someone else would have paid Flacco if they didn’t, plus it’s currently cap friendly and we still were able to sign good veterans like Dumervil) but I think THIS is the consequence of it. You can’t make your quarterback the (formerly) highest paid player in history, then ask integral and talented players on the offense like Boldin and Leach to take a pay CUT.

  3. That wasn’t smart for a power running team. So, I’m betting their going to put it all on Joe’s arm. The problem with that is that I saw a lot of Raven receivers last year make some great catches. I didn’t see a lot of great throws. Either way this should be great to watch. Go Saints!!!!!!!!

  4. You pay Ray Rice $40M and won’t pay the guy that springs him loose?

    That’s just silly.

  5. Here ya go Cowboys, commit to running the ball more and get Leach to open some holes. See if Callahan has some gusto

  6. As a ravens fan I am sad to see him go but as with the trade of bouldin the team is going to a more wide open offense and the new guy is a better pass catcher than leach. I hope they made the right decision.

  7. For what reason??? They were under the cap and are now over $6M under. Is there talk of them picking up another player? I doubt they want to just bank $6M for future years.

  8. The Ravens have to make tough choices with thier cap situation this year, but it’s always surprising to see a play with Leach’s level of productivity go.

    He’ll be a steal for whoever picks him up.

  9. And the hits just keep coming for the defending champs. They better hope that this new guy, Juszczyk can step in and get the job done because Leach was pretty good as a lead blocker for Rice. Now there will be even more pressure on Flacco, if that’s even possible.

  10. Vonta Leach is the best run-blocking fullback in the league, but sadly the FB position is dying out. The traditional bruising FB’s are being phased out in favor of more versatile H-backs and 2 TE sets.

  11. Thats bull. I get that we’re rebuilding or whatever, but wheres the foundation.

    Vonta is an outstanding player. Good luck wherever you end up. Hopefully somewhere over in the NFC for the Ravens sake.

  12. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Leach in Green Bay for a cup of coffee a few seasons ago? If so, I’d bring him back and see what’s left. Can you imagine him leading a path for Lacy, Franklin or anyone else for that matter. BRING HIM IN!!!!

  13. a little off topic but i still get over the wasted years with cam cameron…why didn’t bisciotti or harbaugh get rid of him earlier ??

  14. It would not shock me at all if the Giants got in the mix here. Henry Hynoski had a bad injury in OTA’s and they have been using Pascoe at FB out of necessity. May be a good fit.

  15. 3 thoughts …
    1. If you blame this on the Flacco contract, you are either a troll or unintelligent. There is no middle ground.
    2. The Ravens always spend up to the cap. They are obviously banking on either a trade (has to be for a WR, right?) or a few signings once players have been cut in training camp. Otherwise, there was no need to open up the cap room.
    3. Obviously the Ravens aren’t alone in thinking Leach wasn’t worth his contract. As they demonstrated with Boldin, they would have taken any offer, even just a 7th rounder, if someone else would take his contract. I love Leach, but he’s in for a rude awakening in free agency I think. I absolutely do not begrudge him for refusing to take a pay cut, however.

  16. Anyone who blames the Flacco contract doesn’t understand Salary Cap 101. The big cap numbers this yr are haloti & sizzle. Flacco is 6.7 mil this year. Before stating that his contract is causing this, please understand that about which you post.

  17. Wow this is kinda crazy news Vontae is a big part of Ravens run game offense.. He is a BALLER hard nose blocker that isn’t afraid to jump up and hit somebody.. This will hurt the Ravens.. But it’s all good you guys were given a ring last year..

  18. -To those saying it is because of Flacco’s contract:
    You’re and idiot. Flacco’s cap number is only $6.5 million this year.

    -To those asking why free up the cap room:
    Most likely to pick up a WR, and/or give Dennis Pitta a contract extension.

  19. While he would be good on the niners…. Bruce Miller has better hands and is a great up and comer. I would still take him over Dixon for short yardage though

  20. And once again, the ignorance among posters on here blows my mind. Becomes somehow, this is CLEARLY all Flacco’s fault with his contract. What they fail to realize, once again, is the following….

    1. Flacco’s cap number for 2013 is a very modest $6.8 million.
    2. Leach was only on the field for roughly 42% of the plays. Would you pay $3 million for a player who doesn’t take the field more than half the time?
    3. Many teams in the league don’t even carry a FB position anymore, much less two of them. Even those of you trumping your team’s GM to sign this guy ignore the fact that your team might not even have a pressing need for Leach, despite his talents. No team is going to redesign its offense for a FB either, so saying the Ravens “underused” Leach is utter nonsense.

  21. thesteelers says: Jun 11, 2013 11:37 AM

    LOL! 3 mil for a dead position! LOL!

    —————————————

    Just because your team doesn’t have a running game doesn’t mean that Ravens didn’t use Leach to help with the Superbowl. People remember the Flacco throws but Peirce and Rice exploded for some big plays forcing teams to sacrifice coverage. Vikings, Seahawks, 49ers & Ravens and even the Packers are all playoff teams that utilize a strong full back.

  22. Ravens have cap room to sign Elam. Is there another addition they are working on or could they just think the work horse has nothing left in the tank and do not want to find it out in the middle of the season?

  23. Ray Rice had a better YPC with Leach on the bench. Look it up.

    Vonta was a good player, but Jusczcyk has shown he can play H-back, he can run and he’s a better receiver out of the backfield. And he’s a lot cheaper. There is a reason they waited until after these last OTAs to make this move.

    My guess is he has his eye on a vet WR. Or he may bank the cap to use next year on Suggs and Ngata. Ozzie, as usual, knows what he is doing.

  24. Giants wanted him way back when he chose the Texans over them. With Hynoski hurt, he fits right in.

  25. For all you ravenettes, wacko flacco’s contract is the blame for the ravens losing half the team. They made a mediocre QB the highest paid at the position followed by asking almost every player who left to take a pay cut or be cut. You call that loyalty? Then they bring in a bunch of scrubs and you fans think that the team is actually better, SMH. Not to mention you think that every player the ravens drafted in April is gonna be immediate stars, reality check. I bet you anything if the ravens hadn’t gave flacco that mega deal, this team would have still been in tact minus retiring Lewis, in Ozzie we trust my ass

  26. Leach was a beast, but not for 4.3 mil cap hit. This move was expected for months. Once they drafted the Harvard guy that is more versatile, Leach’s days were numbered.

    Those that think this is a big hit to the Ravens don’t realize that he was only on the field for 30-40% of the Ravens offensive plays. He was limited at what he could do. Once again the Ravens make the smart move to go another direction.

    Should be a relatively easy year to repeat as AFC North Champions.

  27. @broncosnative, Flacco’s cap hit was higher last year than this year. Go catch Jacoby Jones, he’s open.

  28. Enjoy Ravens fans – you did the same thing to Texans fans when they let Leach walk and you picked him up.

  29. I saw this one coming when the Ravens were on the clock for that pick. That move was shrewdly calculated and a great use of that specific pick. I would have done exactly the same thing.

  30. Ray Rice had the same numbers with and without Leach. This was the Ravens way to add money to the salary cap. Now the Ravens have money to get the Elam deal done and will have just above $5 million left to pick up a receiver if the young guys don’t work out. This has nothing to do with Flacco’s deal!!!!

  31. I simply don’t understand how SO MANY people that call themselves FANS of the game blame Flacco’s contract for every move the Ravens make. It’s clear as absolute day that Flacco’s cap number this coming year is VERY LOW, it’s a simple fact.

  32. The Ravens will learn ans the Browns did when they cut Lawrence Vickers when they drafted FB Owen Marecic in the 4th round. True the previous FB Vickers couldn’t catch a cold if he were without clothes in an Alaskan Blizzard, but he was a good blocker. Marecic can’t find the field and the team converted a back-up TE rather than put him in the game last year, 2 years after drafting him. I do believe they will be sorry for this move. It may have saved them some money, but they will feel it this season if Juszczyk is ineffective.

  33. bmoritz2003 says:
    Jun 11, 2013 11:40 AM
    The Ravens will not make the playoffs this season, too many good players left.
    ———————————————————

    They’ll be lucky to get to .500.

  34. bmoritz2003 says:
    Jun 11, 2013 11:40 AM
    The Ravens will not make the playoffs this season, too many good players left.

    —————————————————

    You’re claiming the Ravens won’t make the playoffs because they have too many good players left on their team?

    I’m not sure if I should agree with you on the grounds that yes, the Ravens DO have too many good players left on their team, or if I should tell you to go home because you’re drunk and think they won’t make the playoffs BECAUSE they have too many good players left on their team.

    Oh, and there are the 143 other idiots and counting who agreed with your nonsensical post. They should go home from too much drinking too.

  35. No, this was not a DIRECT result of the Flacco contract, but if you think it has nothing to do with it, you don’t understand the players that are on your team.

    Here you are, one of the best blocking FB’s in the game. Your starting QB, who is average at best (YES, he played his best football ever in the playoffs, I will give you that), becomes the highest paid player in the game ever. Now, the team is asking you to take less money, even though they have enough money to sign their draft picks.

    Leach most likely would have taken a slight reduction, but it is obvious that the Ravens were asking him to take too big of a cut, and he wasn’t going to do that, knowing they were willing to over pay for Flacco.

    Not only that, with the $29 million dollar check Ozzie had to hand to Flacco as his signing bonus, even though it all doesn’t count against THIS cap, that money was still spent, and less the team has to pay other players.

    The biggest issue is, who is going to be the leader? As the owner said, it is Flaccos turn to be the leader, and he must be. The problem is, he lost two of his best players on offense, now they are asking that average QB to do more, with less.

    Good luck Ravens fans. What you all need to do is buy the Super Bowl DVD, that way you can watch something on Sundays to get excited about. This team certainly won’t be giving you a lot to be excited about.

  36. Im just looking at alot of ppl saying FB position is dead! In my eyes FBs are hybrids of TEs…very much needed in todays game! 3 mil for that bruiser is cheap far away from too much money…they deserveevery dollar for the effort they put forth

  37. Guys, it’s simple. It’s the same reason the Texans let him walk, and it has nothing to do with Flacco’s deal.

    You just don’t pay big money to fullbacks. Period.

  38. @ nickster31

    Once again, you missed the point entirely. Leach was only on the field for about 42% of the offensive plays last season. Any football coach who hasn’t lost his mind would say paying a player over $3 million for such service is lunacy. And if you think it’s stupid for Leach to only be used 42% of the time, it’s even dumber to build an offense around a fullback. So what option is left? Answer: Either renegotiate with Leach so he takes less money, or cut him. Since the Ravens drafted a fullback who can do everything Leach already did and more (and costs a whole lot less), the decision was simple.

    As for who the leader of the team will be, players such as Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, and Terrell Suggs, along with the departed Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, all have gone on record to say Flacco leads the team. They call him “The General.” If that’s not good enough evidence to show how well he leads, then I don’t know what is. He may not be as fun to watch in an interview as Brady, Brees, or Manning, but that doesn’t deter from his leadership on the field.

    What more do you want or expect? You’re not even a Ravens fan, so why do you care?

  39. @Southpaw2k

    When bmoritz2003 says, ” too many good players left” I think he mean too many players have left the team (not “too many players are still left on the team.”)

    English is a slippery language.

    I won’t argue with anyone who claims that the Ravens will have team chemistry problems with so many departures and so many new faces.

    However, I will say that you do have to wait to see how good the new faces are before you claim it’s a totally bad thing.

    Too many teams hold onto veterans after winning it all, pay them too much money to stay one more year, and end up with a worse Super Bowl hangover when the cap catches up with them. This happened to the Ravens in 2001 and it took five or more seasons to climb out of that hole.

    You have to consider the possibility that ripping the band-aid off fast is the better way to go.

    Also, you have to note that offensively they are still pretty intact. Here are the losses and the candidates to replace them…

    WR, Anquan Boldin (Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, David Reed — obviously a big question mark here)

    C, Matt Birk (AQ Shipley, Geno Gradkowski)

    FB, Vonta Leach (Kyle Juszczyk)

    That’s it. These are older players who retired or don’t have a ton of tread left. Still have Flacco, Rice, Torrey Smith and an offensive line that was dominant in the playoffs.

    Defensively Ravens fans heard for years that the team was getting old and slow, and it showed in the second half of the Super Bowl.

    Now that they’ve address the age/speed issue, the hope is they’ve replaced leadership with younger talent and will look for younger veterans like Suggs, Ngata and Webb to fill the leadership void from these departures:

    ILB Ray Lewis (Arthur Brown)
    ILB Darnell Ellerbe (Jamel McClain, DJ Bryant)
    OLB Paul Kruger (Elvis Dumerville)
    FS Ed Reed (Michael Huff, James Ihedigbo)
    SS Bernard Pollard (Matt Elam)
    CB Cary Williams (Jimmy Smith, Corey Graham)

  40. What would truly be hilarious is to do some data mining on PFT posts by armchair general managers after the coming season and see how many where even remotely close.

  41. @ shaslers

    I see your point. I think I did misread the original post and you’re correct in your interpretation. I also think you and I are on the same page as far as the Ravens making the right choices in letter their older veterans go and replacing them with younger talent on both sides of the ball.

    I’m still amazed that non-Ravens fans criticize the team for allowing their older talent to leave, claiming the team has no chance to succeed without them. Yet had the Ravens worked on retaining most of those players, those same people would say the team is older and slower, so they’d have no chance to repeat. I’d love to know which option was “preferable” in their eyes, and I’d like a genuine answer to that question.

  42. I’m not sure if Owen Shmidt is still on the team but the Raiders need a fullback. It would not surprise me to see Reggie try to at least have Vontae in for a visit.

  43. Steeler fans are terrified that Ozzie doesn’t keep all the expensive players that prevent him from grabbing the next superstar. That’s ok. Our formula won the Superbowl. How you doin? 8-8? Ok, not bad if average is your goal.

  44. Vonta Leach is a battering ram, the best iso-blocking FB in the league…but he’s a completely one-dimensional player.

    Ray Rice had the same YPC average whether Leach was in the game or not, and Bernard Pierce was actually BETTER out of a one-back set.

    Baltimore’s front office knows how to get a FB that fits the offense…

    Sam Gash, Ovie Mughelli, Lorenzo Neal, LeRon McClain, Vonta Leach. Five studs in a row. Two drafted, three FAs. The Ravens drafted Juszczyk, and waited until after rookie camp, OTAs, and a mandatory minicamp to make any attempt to cut Leach’s salary…I’d imagine that what they’ve seen out of the Harvard kid was enough that Ozzie & Harbaugh felt comfortable with a “take it or leave it” situation for Leach.

    I love Leach (he was actually my favorite player) but I’m not going to cry myself to sleep tonight over what the offense will be without him on the roster.

  45. First of all he wanted OUT and knows a sinking ship looks like. Dose not want to play for a train wreak of a team. Band of LOSERS. THE TEAM FROM CLEVELAND. GO CLEVELAND ravens. !!!!!!!!!

  46. Leach is a beast of an FB. He made plenty of holes for Rice that didn’t exist until he shoved his body through. I am surprised they couldn’t cut a lower priced deal with him. Maybe he didn’t want to stay there as much as he said he wanted. Unless they really lowballed him with the intention of really using their newly drafted FB.

    Any team that involves a lot of running attack (Vikings maybe? Can you imagine AP running wild with Leach providing the intial gap… Crazy!) would do well to take a long, hard look at him.

    As for all the Raven’s haters, come on. All the highest tier NFL teams know how to reload properly. They will almost certainly be in the playoffs, and once there, who knows what will happen. Take last season as an example. No one expected them to get past either Denver or NE, yet they hoisted the Lombardi.

    P.S. – I hate lukewarm teams that get hot in the playoffs. Screw you Giants and Ravens, heh.

  47. @narfmoo12

    Leach is certainly an asset. But I looked up the YPC stat as you suggested. When Leach was there in 2010 it was 4.9 YPC and it’s been 4.4 and 4.1 since Leach left. He rushed for a little more than 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns in 16 games with Leach, and then a bit more than 1,400 with 15 TDs in 16 games last year without him.

    So his stats are down, but not dramatically and I can’t even say it’s all due to Leach versus age or the offensive line. So I’m not convinced

    Also, under Caldwell’s playcalling Leach was on the sideline more often than not. So it’s hard to justify paying him over $3 million this year.

  48. I agree that Leach is a great lead blocker, and he will make the running game of whatever team he lands with instantly better. That being said, if his 2 Super Bowl titles have proven anything, it’s that Ozzie Newsome knows what he’s doing.

  49. Just as danielmarcsnyder said, You pay your Running back top dollar, but won’t cough up a little more to make sure he’s not the one taking the huge blows at the line?

    I would much rather know I have one of the top FB’s in the league and pay him a little extra, than start a Rookie who’s blocking for my $40m RB.

    Either the Ravens know something very good about the Rookie or somebody has a grudge against Leach. The guy was a good part of getting you to and winning the Super Bowl. Usually when a good chunk of your Super Bowl winning team either retired or left already, you’d want to keep as much of that familiarity as possible, right?

  50. I love all you arm chair QB’s criticizing one of the best front offices in league for doing what they do best. They assign a value to a player and won’t pay more than that value. In Jim Caldwells offense, Vonte played about 1/2 the snaps. Overall he played 24% of the snaps in the last 3 games and playoffs last year. Too few for a guy making 3 million dollars.

    If we would have kept him, you would have heard everybody beating the Ravens for getting old. But instead you beat them for keeping there team young and hungry. Meanwhile, we have made the playoffs 5 years in a row and made the AFC Championship three times in the past 5 years.

    Hope you arm chair QB’s don’t mind, I will stick with Ozzie and our front office.

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