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Friday, February 1, 2013
Who's playing final game with Ravens?

By Jamison Hensley

NEW ORLEANS -- Linebacker Ray Lewis won't be the only one playing his final game for the Ravens in Sunday's Super Bowl.

According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Ravens are projected to be $20 million over the salary cap if they put the franchise tag on quarterback Joe Flacco. It will go down to about $16 million because the Ravens save $3.8 million with Lewis' retirement.

The prime targets to be cut, according to Schefter, are wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones. The Ravens would free up $9 million in cap space by parting ways with them.

I would have been on board with cutting ties with Boldin earlier this season, but he has made the decision more difficult recently. Over the past four games, Boldin has caught 23 passes for 369 yards (92.2 yards per game) and three touchdowns.

Boldin, though, has always been valuable in the postseason. Since joining the Ravens in 2010, he has totaled the NFL's most receiving yards (512) in the playoffs and is tied with 49ers tight end Vernon Davis for the most touchdown catches (five). Plus, it's not as if Baltimore has a receiver on the roster who can step into Boldin's starting role. If the Ravens don't keep Boldin, they're going to have to find another starting receiver.

The Ravens are going to need cap room if they are going to try to keep unrestricted free agents such as safety Ed Reed, cornerback Cary Williams, inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and outside linebacker Paul Kruger. Of those four, I believe Ellerbe has the best chance of returning.