Ravens release DE Chris Canty

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens cut starting defensive end Chris Canty on Friday to create $2.66 million in salary-cap space.

This move was long expected as the Ravens needed the cap room and can replace Canty with younger, cheaper players.

Four players -- Brent Urban (a fourth-round pick from last year), Lawrence Guy, DeAngelo Tyson and Kapron Lewis-Moore -- are expected to compete for the position in 2015.

Canty, 32, never made the impact on the field that the Ravens envisioned when they signed him in 2013 after he left the New York Giants as a free agent. His 63 tackles ranked 12th on the Ravens over the past two seasons, and he missed five games in 2014 -- playing only 31.6 percent of the team's snaps.

His cap number of $3.326 million ranked 14th on the Ravens.

"I am very proud to be a Raven," Canty said in a statement released by the team. "They are a great franchise, and I was privileged to be a contributor to that outstanding tradition of defense that is part of the team's lore."

Canty said he plans to play in 2015 even though he contemplated retirement at the end of the season. He won a Super Bowl ring with the Giants.

"I am going to continue to prepare to play again and will explore other possibilities to play the game I love," Canty said. "[The Ravens] helped me re-discover and continue my passion for football, a game I respect and love."

There is a chance that Canty could return to the Ravens later this offseason, especially if the younger players fail to fill the void left by his departure.

"We thank him for everything he did for us the last two seasons," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "I know that Chris still wants to explore playing again, and he's preparing to do that. We certainly would not close the door to Chris coming back to us."