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The Baltimore Ravens are set to undergo change this offseason. The coaching staff took shape in the past few weeks. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees retired and was replaced by linebackers coach, Don Martindale. Head coach John Harbaugh decided to retain offensive coordinator Marty Morninwheg, along with hiring a quarterbacks coach in James Urban. With the coaching carousel all but over, the Ravens are now focusing on individual players’ future with the organization. Baltimore needs to make room for additions to the roster and to free up precious salary cap space. The Ravens are going to be faced with some tough decisions, and there are three players who are not likely to return to Baltimore in 2018.

Jeremy Maclin, Wide Receiver

Jeremy Maclin was signed during the offseason this past year, as he practically fell into Baltimore’s lap. Maclin was cut by Kansas City late in the offseason process, and the perennially receiver-needy Ravens immediately targeted him. The Ravens understandably threw money at Maclin to lure him in. Baltimore offered Maclin a 2 year, $11 million deal, and he took it. The financial cost seemed worth the gain at that point. It was assumed that Maclin would become Baltimore’s leading receiver and Flacco’s favorite target. Unfortunately, Maclin’s performance in his first year indicates that it will likely be his only year with the Ravens. Maclin did not live up to the expectations set for him. Instead of being the “X-Factor” in Baltimore’s passing game, he barely made an impact.

The Ravens will likely move on from Maclin, as it makes sense financially. Baltimore is set to pay the wide receiver $7.5 million in 2018. If the Ravens were to cut Maclin from the roster, Baltimore would be able to save $5 million in salary cap space. Only $1.5 million would be paid to Maclin in dead cap money. It’s possible that Baltimore may look for a trading partner to ship Maclin out, but it’s unlikely they will find a team willing to give up something for Maclin. Maclin is only on contract for next year, and that price tag is not worth the value of the player. The most likely move for Baltimore would be to cut Maclin outright, and I fully expect that to happen.

Benjamin Watson, Tight End

Over the past year, Benjamin Watson has been a very valuable asset for the Baltimore Ravens. He led the team in receptions and was a favorite target of Joe Flacco. Despite this, Watson will likely be absent from Baltimore next year. Watson’s contract with the Ravens is expiring, and the team will be hesitant to cut him a new deal. Although his level of play showed no signs of regression, Watson is an aging veteran. The 37-year-old is not far removed from a major Achilles injury, that kept him off the field for an entire season in 2016. These factors are enough for any organization to step away from a free agent, but the Ravens have even more reason. Behind Watson is a young group of tight ends looking to make their presence felt in Baltimore. Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams, Darren Waller, and Vince Mayle are all in a strong position heading into next year.

One of the options Watson is considering is retirement. He recently stated that he and his family are discussing his future in football, and it seems more and more likely he will retire. The Ravens will likely not renew his contract, or offer him any sort of deal. It’s also unlikely that many other NFL teams will make any sort of move to obtain Watson. He will either have to settle for a bad deal to continue playing in the NFL or hang up his cleats. If he does choose the latter, Watson will continue his outstanding charity work, potentially as his full-time occupation. The efforts of Watson and his foundation have been honored by the NFL, as Watson is a finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

Lardarius Webb, Cornerback

Lardarius Webb is one of my favorite Ravens, but it seems like his time is up with the organization. Webb’s role has slowly dwindled during the last few seasons. Webb originally started as a cornerback with the Ravens in 2009 and is set to enter his tenth season in 2018. As Webb’s level of play has regressed in recent years, the coaching staff moved him to safety to keep him relevant on defense. Webb is no longer a starter, though, and is essentially a rotational/relief defensive back. Webb has been a fantastic player for the Ravens over the course of his tenure, but father time is starting to catch up with him.

Lardarius Webb will likely be cut from the Ravens this offseason. Baltimore released him last year in March but brought him back in April. The move saved the Ravens $4.2 million in salary cap space. The initial release freed up $5.5 million for 2017, and Baltimore paid Webb $1.3 million for 2017 in the new contract. Cutting Webb would only generate $800,000 in dead cap for 2018 and $400,000 in 2019 while saving the Ravens $1.75 million in cap space. There is a chance that Webb would be willing to take a pay cut to remain with the team. However, it’s uncertain if the Ravens would even want to do this, as they have younger defensive backs and safeties on the roster.

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