Five thoughts after an unpredictable Ravens cut-down day:
1. Don’t be shocked if running back Justin Forsett returns to the Ravens.
Cutting Forsett saved the Ravens around $3 million in cap space. But if they re-signed Forsett after Week 1, his contract would not be guaranteed. Forsett is now free to sign with anyone. However, if he wants to come back, Forsett may just sit tight while the Ravens make other moves, and then expect a phone call from Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome in the near future. As Forsett tweeted Saturday, “The plot thickens.” No matter how it plays out, the decision to cut Forsett was a stunner, and a gamble by the Ravens. Stay tuned.
2. Signing free agent punt returner Devin Hester makes sense.
Hester has had two tryouts and a physical. With Michael Campanaro and Keenan Reynolds no longer on the roster, the Ravens’ return situation was unsettled and the Sept. 11 regular season opener against the Bills is looming. Signing Hester then makes sense, assuming he has recovered from his toe injury.
3. Keeping just five wide receivers wasn’t expected.
The talk was that the Ravens would keep at least six wide receivers, maybe seven. Instead, their initial 53-man roster includes just five – Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman, and rookie Chris Moore. Smith didn’t play the entire preseason and is coming off Achilles surgery. Perriman has a history of knee injuries and has never played a regular season game. Still, there wasn’t room on this roster for Jeremy Butler, after his strong camp and preseason? That’s a surprise.
4. Reynolds may be a good NFL player one day, but the practice squad is the best spot for him.
Asking Reynolds to make the quick transition from Navy’s quarterback to NFL wide receiver – returner was asking a lot, even for a player with his talent and determination. The Ravens hope nobody claims Reynolds on waivers so they can return him to their practice squad where he can continue to develop. If the Patriots or another team claims Reynolds, the Ravens will wish him well, but won’t kick themselves. Coming off a 5-11 season, the Ravens need 53 players on the roster who can help them win - now.
5. Running back Terrance West may be the biggest beneficiary of Saturday’s developments.
With Forsett cut, and rookie Kenneth Dixon injured, West looks like the lead back heading into Week 1 against the Bills. The last year has played out well for West, a Baltimore native and former Towson star. He’s back in his hometown. He has shown dedication by dropping 15 pounds since the end of last season. He has been impressive in training camp and preseason. After failing to stick with the Browns and Titans, this is West’s golden opportunity to seize the moment.
MORE RAVENS: QUICK ANALYSIS OF RAVENS INITIAL 53-MAN ROSTER