The Baltimore Ravens have cut Pro Bowl center Jeremy Zuttah. Zuttah was in the middle of a three-year, $12.25M contract and was selected to the Pro Bowl last season.
Zuttah’s release is somewhat of a surprise, though not a total shock, as Zuttah was in the middle of a fairly large contract, and the Ravens are short on cap space.
Zuttah’s contract was a three-year, $12.25M deal. The Ravens have cut other players so far this offseason in an effort to free up cap space, including aging linebacker Elvis Dumervil, so Zuttah’s release isn’t a major shock.
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The Ravens will still owe Zuttah his $6.5M guaranteed, however, this is a much smaller cap hit than what his contract would’ve done.
The real interesting issue that this presents is: who is playing center for the Baltimore Ravens in 2017? The Ravens offensive line is looking awfully sparse, as it’s likely projected to only have Ronnie Stanley, Marshal Yanda, and Alex Lewis returning as starters from last season.
One option at the center position would be John Urschel, who is likely more well-known for his academic prowess than his play on the field. Regardless, Urschel is a serviceable center and could theoretically serve as the Ravens’ starter next season.
Another option is signing someone, as there are a handful of solid available centers out there. The three highest ranked free agent centers, according to Pro Football Rumors, are Nick Mangold, Joe Hawley, and John Sullivan.
However, it’s likely that all three of those free agents would command a relatively hefty salary (though we’ll see), so the Ravens may opt to stick with what they have or target a center in the NFL Draft.
Whatever the Ravens ultimately decide to do, they need to address the offensive line position in a major way. It’s hard to imagine trusting a handful of sub-par linemen to protect your $100M quarterback.