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Ravens coach John Harbaugh stands up for Colin Kaepernick

Ravens coach John Harbaugh stands up for Colin Kaepernick

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh may be in the minority in this opinion, but he thinks Colin Kaepernick will find himself a starting quarterback job in the NFL. 

Speaking at the annual NFL Owner's Meetings in Arizona, Harbaugh defended the former 49ers QB, who drew scathing criticism last season for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial inequality. 

The Ravens coach told assembled media that Kaepernick – who played under Jim Harbaugh in San Franciso – is a good person and has the talent to succeed in the NFL. 

Clearly, Harbaugh doesn't agree with the theory that teams haven't signed Kaep because he's just not that good. But he also panned the idea that the QB is being "blackballed" because of his politics. 

The definition of "blackballed" is obviously at issue here. Have all 32 NFL franchises determined they won't sign Kaepernick under any circumstances? Probably not. 

But just because he's not being "blackballed" per se doesn't mean that his political expressions – or more accurately, public opinion of those expressions – haven't made finding an employer more difficult. 

There's also the fact that, while talented, Kaepernick hasn't won many games the past few seasons. Blame that on his style of play or the team around him, but Kaep didn't show he can be the difference-maker on a struggling team. 

Despite all that, Harbaugh's faith in Kaepernick finding a job isn't just an endorsement of the QB, it's also a statement of faith in the NFL. That teams values players for their talents on the field, and don't begrudge them their political expression off it. 

MORE RAVENS: ALL BUT ONE NFL OWNER APPROVES OF RAIDERS' MOVE

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Ravens are releasing safety Tony Jefferson after three seasons in Baltimore

Ravens are releasing safety Tony Jefferson after three seasons in Baltimore

The Ravens are releasing safety Tony Jefferson after he spent three years in Baltimore, the team confirmed Friday.

The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport was first with the news.

“This is the worst part of this business,” general manager Eric DeCosta said in a statement released by the team. “Tony is the consummate teammate and someone who is respected by everyone for his leadership, determination, humility and toughness. He’s a friend to all and a true Raven.

"We know he’s going to beat this injury, and we will be cheering for him all along the way. We wish the very best to Tony and his family.”

 

 

The safety suffered a knee injury against the Steelers in Week 5 and was out for the remainder of the season. He was replaced by Chuck Clark, who shined in his new role and received a three-year contract extension on Monday as a result. 

The Ravens will save $7 million by releasing the 28-year-old safety. He originally had a cap hit of $11.65 million for the 2020 season and will have a dead cap hit of $4.65 million. 

Jefferson started each of the 35 games he played in Baltimore and registered a total of 174 tackles and two interceptions across his three seasons. He played nearly every defensive snap before his injury, only coming off the field during the blowout over the Dolphins in Week 1. 

He spent the first four seasons of his career in Arizona before he left for Baltimore and a four-year, 34 million dollar contract. 

According to overthecap.com, the Ravens will be left with a touch over $31 million in cap space after Jefferson’s release. In an offseason with Matthew Judon as a free agent, Jefferson’s release gives them a little bit more flexibility with their offseason plans. 

The Ravens now have Earl Thomas and Clark as the team’s two top safeties, but there are still questions that persist for the depth at that position with Jordan Richards, who recently signed a one-year contract extension, and DeShon Elliott as the team’s backups currently under contract. Brandon Carr, who played safety down the stretch for the team, has a team option for 2020. 

While the safety position certainly isn’t a need for the Ravens at this juncture, there will almost assuredly need to be some younger talent added to the position. 

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Ravens offensive lineman James Hurst suspended for violating NFL’s performance-enhancing substances policy

Ravens offensive lineman James Hurst suspended for violating NFL’s performance-enhancing substances policy

The Ravens will be without one of their backup offensive linemen to start the 2020 season, as James Hurst was suspended by the NFL for four games without pay after he violated the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Hurst made two starts and appeared in all 16 games for the Ravens last season. He played a total of 194 offensive snaps as a utility offensive lineman, predominantly used as a swing tackle and offensive guard.

Hurst, 28, who signed a four-year contract extension with the Ravens in 2018, is owed $8 million in base salary over the next two seasons, both of which carry a cap hit of $5.25 million.

He also has a dead cap hit of $2.5 million in 2020 and 1.25 in 2021, should the team decide to move on from the former North Carolina Tar Heel. The team would save 2.75 million dollars in 2020 should they release him.

Hurst has played 90 total games in his career in six years in the NFL, all of which were with the Ravens. 

The offensive line is slowly becoming more of a need for the Ravens with Hurst’s suspension. That’s in addition to Matt Skura’s recovery from a knee injury and the potential of Marshal Yanda’s retirement.

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