The Ravens announced the release of outside linebacker Jason Babin and cornerback Rashaan Melvin on Tuesday, with the team reeling at 1-4, and the defense floundering. Two cornerbacks were promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster –Asa Jackson and Charles James.
Babin did not have a sack or a tackle in sporadic playing time, and never made much of an impact after being signed last month following Terrell Suggs’ season-ending Achilles injury. And during Sunday’s 33-30 overtime loss to the Browns , Babin was called for a penalty on two Browns’ touchdown drives. In their third quarter, Babin was called for illegal use of hands, giving the Browns a first down when they would have been stopped on fourth down. Then in the fourth quarter, Babin lined up in the neutral zone, a penalty that coach John Harbaugh singled out during his Monday press conference. Rookie outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith also had an offside penalty during that same drive.
“We’re not advocating penalties,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not something that we want to see. The ones that were most hurtful were the offside, where we lined up in the neutral zone, twice in the same drive. That was unfathomable.”
Melvin has fallen out of favor in recent weeks, and was not activated for Sunday’s game. Instead of turning to Melvin with cornerback Will Davis (torn ACL) done for the year, and Lardarius Webb (thigh) dealing with another injury, the Ravens made other moves. They signed free agent cornerback Shareece Wright on Monday night, and will give Jackson and James a chance to earn playing time.
Cutting Babin and Melvin also sends a message to the roster, especially the defense. The Ravens may be losing games. But they don’t have to accept losing with the same players.