Signs point to Ravens cutting Jeremy Maclin, keeping Brandon Carr

The Baltimore Ravens will be making their salary-cap cuts over the next week, and some players should feel safer than others after hearing general manager Ozzie Newsome talk last week.

Newsome's comments suggest wide receiver Jeremy Maclin will soon be released and cornerback Brandon Carr is likely to be retained.

Maclin has long been considered the prime candidate to get cut by the Ravens after he produced 40 receptions for 440 yards (11-yard average), the worst numbers of his eight-year career. The Ravens can free up $5 million by parting ways with Maclin -- the largest savings on the team -- and they need to do so by March 16.

According to OverTheCap.com, Maclin is due a $1 million roster bonus if he's on the team by the third day of the league year. It's possible that Maclin can stay by taking a pay cut, but it doesn't sound like he's in Baltimore's plans.

Newsome spoke of a makeover of the wide receiver position, which many believe points to an exit for Maclin after one season in Baltimore.

"We're looking for the opportunity to change that [receiver] room in terms of personnel and the people that are in that room," Newsome said.

The futures of Maclin and Carr could also be discerned by how Newsome handled questions about each veteran.

Newsome was noncommittal when addressing whether Maclin would remain with the Ravens.

"We have some decisions that we have to make in the next two weeks," Newsome said. "We have not come to a point where we have decided that this guy's going to be here and this guy's not, but that will occur in the next two weeks."

Newsome was more complimentary in fielding a question about Carr staying or going.

"Brandon played very well for us," Newsome said. "And he's very, very good in our locker room."

Based on that, it seems probable that the Ravens will exercise their 2018 option on Carr. He's also due a $1.5 million roster bonus on March 18, according to Spotrac.com.

The Ravens can create $4 million in cap room by declining the option on Carr, but his status on the team was strengthened by Jimmy Smith's Achilles injury. Baltimore is unsure whether Smith will be ready for the start of the regular season because he was injured on Dec. 3 and the projected recovery time is six to eight months.

Carr's durability is also a plus. His streak of 160 straight starts ranks tops among active cornerbacks and third overall among current players (behind Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten).

"We have six corners," Newsome said, "and based on the last two years, we need six corners. We need all of them."

Other cap-related decisions over the next couple of weeks include:

Offensive tackle Austin Howard ($3 million in cap savings): He did an admirable job replacing Rick Wagner and played better in the second half of the season. Howard had to gut it out at the end with a knee injury. His future likely will be determined by whether the Ravens feel they can find a better value in free agency or a right tackle in the draft.

Running back Danny Woodhead ($1.8 million): The Ravens never really figured out how to properly use Woodhead, and part of that problem traces back to the hamstring injury that kept him sidelined for most of the first half of the season. Kenneth Dixon is coming back, but his injury history as well as a suspension makes him a risk. Woodhead's manageable $2.55 million salary could allow him to keep a roster spot.

Safety Lardarius Webb ($1.75 million): He was basically a special-teams player after getting phased out of the defense toward the end of the season. The potential of young nickel backs Tavon Young and Maurice Canady hurts the chances that Webb will remain on the team.

Linebacker Albert McClellan ($1.25 million): The highly respected special-teams ace will turn 32 in June and is coming off a torn ACL. This could be a case of the Ravens needing to get younger and cheaper.