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Ravens begin creating cap space, part ways with Lardarius Webb, Danny Woodhead and Austin Howard

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USA Today Sports

Ravens begin creating cap space, part ways with Lardarius Webb, Danny Woodhead and Austin Howard

The Ravens have begun creating necessary cap space by releasing several impending free agents.

The team announced Monday they would be letting safety Lardarius Webb go after nine seasons with the team. The 32-year old finished 2017 with 39 combined tackles, one forced fumble and two interceptions.

Webb played in all 16 games for the Ravens last season, only starting in one. Releasing Webb freed up $1.75 million of cap space. Over nine seasons, Webb had 467 combined tackles, five sacks, three forced fumbles, 15 interceptions and one touchdown. Webb took to his twitter to thank Ravens fans.

RELATED: LOOKING AT RAVENS HITTING FREE AGENT MARKET 

On Tuesday, the team announced they would be releasing running back Danny Woodhead after just one season. 

Woodhead missed eight games in 2017 after going down on the first drive of their season opener with a hamstring injury. 

He finished the season with 14 carries for 56 yards and 33 catches for 200 yards. The Ravens have enough depth at running back in Alex Collins, Buck Allen, Kenneth Dixon and free agent Terrance West that releasing the 33-year old was needed to create cap space. Per Over the Cap, the team freed up $1.8 million. 

Also on Tuesday, the Ravens declined offensive tackle Austin Howard's option for the 2018 season. In doing so, they freed up $3 million worth of cap space.

Declining Howard's option shouldn't have come as a surprise after the team re-signed left guard James Hurst to a four-year, $17.5 million contract on Monday. 

The Ravens will now have a new starting right tackle for the third straight year. 

RELATED: RAVENS SIGN URBAN TO ONE-YEAR DEAL TO AVOID FREE AGENCY 

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With MVP talks growing around Lamar Jackson, coach John Harbaugh expects nothing different from his QB

With MVP talks growing around Lamar Jackson, coach John Harbaugh expects nothing different from his QB

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The race for MVP is nearing the home stretch, and it appears Lamar Jackson is pulling out in front. 

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the odds for MVP currently have Jackson as the frontrunner for the league’s MVP award. 

After another blowout win, this time over the formerly 6-3 Texans on Sunday, Jackson has made himself one of the most dangerous players to defend in all of football. He’s done so against some of the best teams in the NFL.

He finished the Houston game with 17-of-24 for 222 yards passing, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also added 86 yards on the ground. 

“He’s just a special player,” Mark Ingram said postgame Sunday. “He’s going to only to improve, only continue to get better. He’s learning every week, getting better. We’re all just trying to do the best job we can do to make [his] job as easy as possible.”

Jackson is currently on pace for 3,613 yards passing, 30 TDs and eight INTs. He's also on-pace for 1,261 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns and no fumbles lost.

That would mean he'd end with 4,874 yards from scrimmage, 39 TDs, and eight turnovers.

Still, the Ravens aren’t expecting the growing optimism and attention to affect Jackson and how he handles his business. The Ravens expect him to be the same, potential-MVP, quarterback that he’s been all season.

“He’s done a great job of that and I’ll be absolutely expecting him to continue to do just what you’re talking about, the whole team,” Harbaugh said. “We have a lot of work to do. Bouquets are bait. No one can compliment us now, it’s too late. We’ve got way too much work to do and we’ve got things to accomplish, starting with the Rams on Monday night.”

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Here's why the Ravens didn't talk to Lamar Jackson at the 2018 Scouting Combine

Here's why the Ravens didn't talk to Lamar Jackson at the 2018 Scouting Combine

He's only started 17 NFL games, but the Ravens have found their franchise QB in second-year star Lamar Jackson. In his first full season as a starter, he's led Baltimore to an 8-2 record and put himself as the frontrunner for the league's Most Valuable Player award.

But on Thursday night in late April during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Jackson likely did not know he would end up in Baltimore until moments before he was selected.

According to NBC Sports' Peter King, the Ravens avoided speaking to Jackson at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine for one main reason.

“We didn’t even interview Lamar at the combine because we didn’t want to be associated with him," Ravens' general manager Eric DeCosta told King. "We didn’t want rumors about us and him to start. They didn’t. We were proud of that.

"So we pick him, and to hear him talk, and to hear his emotion and to see Lamar on TV with Deion Sanders, so happy, and to see his conviction, and to see his competitiveness," DeCosta continued. "That’s a powerful thing. So, after the pick was announced, we hadn’t even had the chance to tell the scouts and coaches."

During the combine, many NFL teams wanted Jackson to work out as a wide receiver. But the Louisville product refused, insisting he was only a quarterback.

The Ravens traded back twice before selecting Jackson with the last pick of the first round. Of the extra picks they gained by trading down, they selected tight end Mark Andrews, who's become one of Jackson's favorite targets.

Baltimore pressed all the right buttons on draft day in 2018, and it's certainly paid off for them a year later.

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