As free agency frenzy continues around the NFL world, the Baltimore Ravens have yet to actually make a signing. Instead, the Ravens have decided to make headlines through other means. The Ravens traded for Calais Campbell on Sunday and traded away Hayden Hurst earlier on Monday. Baltimore again adds to the news cycle on Monday by releasing offensive guard and tackle, James Hurst.
The team announced the internal roster move on Twitter.
The writing was on the wall for the embattled offensive lineman. The Ravens signed James Hurst as an undrafted free agent in 2014. Hurst served as depth and filled in along the offensive until 2017 when he became a full-time starter at left guard. The Ravens saw value in Hursts’ versatility and signed him to a four year, $17.5 million contract extension in 2018. Hurst failed to live up to the contract though. he was often criticized for poor play and eventually was demoted from the starting lineup. Although he was active for all 16 games, Hurst only started twice in 2019.
Things only got worse for Hurst. In February, the NFL suspended him for the first four games of the 2020 season. The NFL confirmed that Hurst violated the league’s policy on performing-enhancing substances.
According to Spotrac, the move will immediately open up $2.75 million in cap space for the Ravens, who desperately need it after trading for Calais Campbell. If the Baltimore Ravens designated Hurst as a post-June 1 cut (which is super unlikely) Baltimore could save an additional $1.25 million in cap space, but the franchise would not have access to any of that $4 million until June.
The offensive line will be a focal point for the Ravens offseason strategy. Whether the team adds one in free agency or the draft, Baltimore needs a new offensive guard now more than ever. Marshal Yanda’s retirement demands a new one, this roster move only exacerbates the need.