In January, the Ravens led eventual AFC champion Pittsburgh by two touchdowns in the divisional-title round.
Now, six starters and two notable backups from that club are gone.
NT Kelly Gregg, one of three starters released by the Ravens, has moved on to Kansas City. TE Todd Heap, who caught 467 passes in 10 seasons with Baltimore, landed in Arizona. WR Derrick Mason, the third starter cut, was unsigned as of press time, but RB Willis McGahee, also let go, signed with the Broncos.
Also, SS Dawan Landry, a Ravens starter since 2006, moved on to Jacksonville, which badly needed secondary help. CB Josh Wilson, who started nine games after being acquired from Seattle last August, was one of three Ravens to sign with Washington. Also departing: OG-C Chris Chester, who rejoined former OL coach Chris Foerster in Washington. Chester, who started 14 games a season ago, likely figured as a reserve if he stayed in Baltimore, but his versatility was valuable. The other Raven to depart for D.C.: WR Donté Stallworth, who didn't play much in his lone season with Baltimore.
The Ravens' cuts did help pave the way for the club to retain ORG Marshal Yanda, one of the top interior linemen available. The Ravens were also able to add bruising FB Vonta Leach, a Pro Bowler last season for Houston. And Baltimore does have some solid former reserves who are ready to step into the lineup. For instance, talented second-year NT Terrence Cody will step in for Gregg. Also, the Ravens have Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura as options to replace Landry.
It's also worth noting that no one expects the Ravens to be done making moves. General manager Ozzie Newsome has proven time and again that he can adeptly fill needs. For example, the Wilson acquisition helped a secondary that struggled with injuries last summer. A daily team observer points out that if the Ravens can agree to a long-term deal with franchise-tag recipient Haloti Ngata, one of the game's top interior linemen, the club will have more salary-cap room to add veteran help. But it's also clear that the cuts and departures have opened the door for some in-house candidates to play more, especially Cody.