- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Ravens reporter
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In finalizing the Baltimore Ravens blog's series on potential salary-cap casualties, here is a ranking from most likely to least likely (with the cap space saved in parentheses):
1. DE Chris Canty ($2.66M): The Ravens can free up $2.66 million by cutting Canty, who never lived up to expectations on the field. He's 32 and only played 31.6 percent of the defensive snaps last season. This is a case where the Ravens have younger and less expensive players who can do the job just as well.
2. OL Gino Gradkowski ($1.574M): What hurts the former fourth-round pick is earning a proven performance escalator, which increased his base salary to $1.695 million. That's not a problem if Gradkowski was a full-time starter like he was in 2013. But there's no chance of the Ravens paying that to their No. 8 offensive lineman. The Ravens gain $1.574 million by releasing him, which is a no-brainer.
3. LB Albert McClellan ($1M): This is another obvious move because the Ravens create $1 million in cap room by parting ways with a special teams player, albeit a core one. The Ravens need to get linebacker Arthur Brown, a former second-round pick, on the field more anyway.
4. DT Haloti Ngata ($8.5M): He carries the highest cap number at $16 million, so the only certainty is Ngata won't play under his current contract. Ngata can secure his return and a chance to retire with the team if he agrees to an extension similar to the one signed by Terrell Suggs last offseason. If he doesn't, the Ravens are going to be forced to release the five-time Pro Bowl lineman and open up $8.5 million in cap space.
5. WR-RS Jacoby Jones ($750,000): His struggles and $3.375 cap number makes him a possible casualty. But the Ravens only gain $750,000 by cutting him. If the Ravens don't want to pay his $2.5 million salary, they can designate him as a post-June 1 cut. That would open up $2.5 million but that cap space can't be used in March, when the Ravens are looking to sign free agents. Is there enough incentive to part ways with a dangerous returner?
6. P Sam Koch ($2.5M): Some argue that a $2.5 million salary is too much for a punter. But that salary ranks seventh among NFL punters. Given Koch ranked in the top three in both gross and net average, the Ravens are getting good value for him. It's more likely the Ravens will try to get an extension done with Koch, which would lower his cap number. The only way the Ravens cut Koch is if they desperately need the $2.5 million that comes with releasing him.
7. CB Lardarius Webb ($2 million): He is scheduled to make $8 million in 2015, a high price for a middle-of-the road cornerback. The problem is, the Ravens only gain $2 million by cutting him. That's not worth it, especially when the Ravens are already thin at cornerback. The Ravens should try to get Webb to take a pay cut and give him an opportunity to make back the money through incentives.
In finalizing the Ravens on potential salary-cap casualties, here is a ranking from most likely to least likely (with cap space saved in parentheses):