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Baltimore Ravens: 1 player who could be a surprise roster cut this offseason

A Divisional Rund loss to the Tennessee Titans cost the Baltimore Ravens a Super Bowl run, but they look the part of a contender in 2020 and beyond. Led by Lamar Jackson, Baltimore has stars across the board.

A star-studded team comes with costs, however. The Ravens will eventually have to pay Jackson, Marlon Humphrey, Ronnie Stanley and others. If they want their pass rush to stay afloat, resigning Matt Judon will be a priority.

Though the Ravens are expected to have $29 million in cap space in the 2020 offseason, per Over The Cap, money may be getting tight soon. If Baltimore wants to keep its core and upgrade around them with veteran talent, some roster cuts will happen.

A prime candidate to be a cap casualty is safety Tony Jefferson.

Jefferson, 27, is a good safety. Since signing with the Ravens in 2017, he’s started all 35 games played. He’s versatile, dependable against the run and can drop back out of the box. His problem isn’t ability, it’s availability.

Jefferson missed all but five games in 2019 with a torn ACL. He underwent ankle surgery early in the last offseason, too. Overall, he’s played in 19 out of the last 32 eligible regular-season games.

Though a leader in the Ravens’ backfield, Baltimore found a solid starter en the wake of Jefferson’s torn ACL. Third-year safety Chuck Clark thrived in Jefferson’s spot. He allowed a 75.1 passer rating in coverage, per Pro Football Reference, and tallied 68 combined tackles, nine pass deflections and an interception. The Ravens’ defense got better with Clark on the field.

This all comes down to money, however. The Ravens would receive an extra $7 million in cap space by cutting Jefferson and incur a dead cap fee of about $4.6 million. Though paying for a player not on the roster is not ideal, cutting him allows them to throw money at other positions. Clark’s play would help the Ravens’ transition well from Jefferson to him.

If the Ravens release Jefferson, don’t let it come as a surprise. They will get more money, the opportunity to play a promising safety and it will allow him to find another start role elsewhere. It makes too much sense, which is also why Jefferson himself thinks it will happen.

Three weeks ago, Jefferson acknowledged on Instagram that he will probably be released in the offseason. He said he probably will be an unrestricted free agent in March, indicating that he sees his release coming.