The Ravens have declined to pick up the second-year option on Chris Canty's contract, letting the veteran defensive lineman go and freeing up a little more than $2 million in cap space with the start of free agency looming. The move was first reported by the Baltimore Sun.
Canty, 33, has spent the past three seasons with the Ravens, though his 2015 season was cut short by injury. Canty missed four games early in the season with a calf injury and then missed the final three games after going on injured reserve with a pectoral injury.
He finished the season with 20 tackles and one sack.
At the Combine last week, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome acknowledged that the franchise would have to make some "tough decisions" to free up some cap room before the new league year begins March 9.
In cutting Canty and Daryl Smith -- whose release was first reported by ESPN on Thursday morning -- the Ravens free up more than $4.5 million in cap space but lose two of the veteran leaders in the locker room.
Canty was cut last offseason and then re-signed less than a month later to a more cap-friendly deal. The Ravens valued his locker room leadership and his ability to mentor a group of young defensive linemen including Brent Urban -- a fellow ex-Virginia Cavalier -- as well as Carl Davis, Timmy Jernigan, Brandon Williams and Kapron Lewis-Moore.
Canty has played 11 NFL seasons, and he told Pro Football Talk last month that he had no plans to retire.
"I’ve been taking it year to year for the past four seasons,” Canty said on PFT Live. “Just as long as I can continue to go out there and play at a high level, I’m going to definitely be out there, because it’s a privilege, it’s an honor to be a part of the National Football League, it’s rich tradition and history.
"I don’t take that for granted. It’s going to be a situation where they’re probably going to have to roll me out of the NFL.”
Another re-signing like last year seems unlikely, so if Canty does continue to play, it won't be with the Ravens.
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