Ravens release Leach, McClain

The Baltimore Ravens released fullback Vonta Leach and inside linebacker Jameel McClain on Thursday, freeing up nearly $5 million in salary cap space.

Both had been projected as the Ravens' two most likely salary-cap casualties since the end of the season. The Ravens will save $3.2 million by cutting McClain and $1.75 million by releasing Leach, giving them a projected $27 million in cap room.

"Vonta and Jameel are two of our most important players over the last few seasons," general manager Ozzie Newsome said.

Leach thanked fans and the Ravens via Twitter.

A three-time Pro Bowl fullback, Leach re-signed at a reduced salary last year before being phased out of the offense during the season. He only participated in 20 percent of the offensive snaps as the Ravens went to a three-receiver, spread attack.

"Vonta proved to be one of the best fullbacks in the league, plus he added leadership and toughness to our offense," Newsome said.

McClain made an admirable comeback from a spinal cord contusion in 2013 after taking a $1.5 million salary cut during the summer. He finished with 50 tackles and one forced fumble in 10 starts last season, but he doesn't fit in the Ravens' plans. At inside linebacker, the Ravens are trying to re-sign Daryl Smith and they are hoping second-round pick Arthur Brown steps into a starting role this season.

"Jameel is a Ravens' success story who came to us as a rookie free agent," Newsome said.

Newsome didn't rule out bringing back Leach or McClain.

"They are our types of players," he said.