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Ravens officially decline Brandon Carr’s team option, making him a free agent

Ravens officially decline Brandon Carr’s team option, making him a free agent

According to the NFL’s official press release, Brandon Carr is an unrestricted free agent — meaning the Ravens have declined his team option for the 2020 season. 

The versatile defensive back played a multitude of roles last season for the Ravens and saw time at both safety and cornerback. 

The Ravens saved $6 million against the cap by declining his team option. His contract carried a cap hit of $7 million and a dead cap hit of $1 million. With the acquisitions of Calais Campbell, Michael Brockers, in addition to the franchise tag being placed on Matthew Judon, the Ravens needed to save money any way they could. 

Baltimore will not receive a compensatory pick for Carr, no matter how much he signs for elsewhere. 

Carr hasn’t missed a game in his NFL career and recorded 150 tackles and six interceptions in his three years as a Raven. Carr made previous stops in Kansas City and Dallas as well. 

The Ravens simply didn’t have space for him, as Carr would’ve been the team’s third safety or a depth cornerback. But that doesn’t diminish his impact on the organization, as Carr was on the field for a majority of the defensive snaps throughout the season.

Carr wasn’t the only player to reach free agency, though, as the Ravens free agents are, according to a release from the NFL: linebackers Josh Bynes, Pernell McPhee and Patrick Onwuasor, defensive linemen Justin Ellis, Domata Peko Sr., Michael Pierce and Jihad Ward, defensive backs Anthony Levine, Jimmy Smith and Brynden Trawick, offensive lineman Hroniss Grasu and wide receivers Chris Moore and Seth Roberts.

Additionally, the Ravens did not tender offensive linemen Parker Ehinger and Randin Crecelius and defensive back Fish Smithson's contracts, making all three free agents as well. 

While all names have to be listed, some signings are not yet official. Ward and Ellis have both reportedly re-signed in Baltimore and Roberts signed a deal with the Panthers early Wednesday.

As the offseason slowly begins to take shape, the Ravens roster is beginning to do the same.

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Report: NFL to cut preseason in half, taking away Ravens first and fourth preseason games against the Bills and Redskins

Report: NFL to cut preseason in half, taking away Ravens first and fourth preseason games against the Bills and Redskins

According to a report from ProFootballTalk, the NFL has scrapped its first and fourth preseason games this season and cut the preseason in half. 

The Ravens were scheduled to play the Bills at home on Aug. 14 to open the season, then end the preseason on Sept. 3 against the Redskins. 

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Now, the Ravens’ tentative preseason schedule will have one road game, at the Cowboys on Aug. 22, and home against the Panthers on Aug. 30. 

According to the report, the move was spurred on by two factors: Firstly, that road teams would have trouble moving that many bodies and risk spreading COVID-19. Secondly, that no team has had on-field workouts this summer. Now, with training camps scheduled to start on July 28, teams will have more time to prepare for the season. 

The move came with coronavirus cases continually rising in the United States a day after Dr. Anthony Fauci said new cases could reach 100,000 per day if more preventative measures were not taken. On June 30, the U.S. had 46,042 new cases, the second-highest total since the pandemic began.

Baltimore is still set to report to camp at the end of the month, as is the rest of the NFL. With the new preseason schedule, they’ll have about three weeks to prepare for the first on-field game action of the season. 

The Ravens haven’t lost in the preseason since Sept. 3, 2015, when they lost 20-19 to the Falcons. 

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What if Ravens beat the Patriots in the 2012 AFC Championship Game?

What if Ravens beat the Patriots in the 2012 AFC Championship Game?

It’s not a stretch to say the 2012 AFC Championship Game was one of the most painful losses in Baltimore sports history.

The Ravens went to New England off a 20-13 win in the divisional round and were a game away from the Super Bowl for the first time since 2008. 

And one of their biggest rivals stood in the way of the Ravens and their second Super Bowl appearance in history. 

Baltimore and New England went back and forth for the entire game, before a one-yard Tom Brady plunge on 4th and goal gave the Patriots a 23-20 lead early in the fourth quarter. 

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Despite a Joe Flacco interception midway through the fourth quarter, the Ravens held the Patriots out of the end zone and gave the ball back to their offense with under two minutes to play. 

Then, the Ravens marched into Patriots territory and found themselves at the 14-yard line with 27 seconds left. 

On second down, Flacco fired a pass to wide receiver Lee Evans in the right corner of the end zone. Evans had it in his hands — then he dropped it. A Patriots defender came in late to knock the ball out of his hands, a catch that would’ve assuredly lifted the Ravens to the Super Bowl. 

Evans never played a regular season game again. 

"It was an opportunity to go to the Super Bowl," he said after the game. "And I let it go."

Two plays after Evans’ drop, kicker Billy Cundiff trotted onto the field to attempt a game-tying 32-yard field goal. The kick hooked badly to the left, and the Ravens lost 23-20 just a few plays short of the Super Bowl.

Cundiff, who had made the Pro Bowl with the Ravens in 2010 and signed a five-year contract extension in January of 2011, suffered the lowest moment of his professional career 364 days after he put pen to paper. He was released in August.

But if the Ravens had won that game, whether through Evans’ touchdown or another play in overtime, it’s reasonable to assume things wouldn’t have turned out as well long-term for the team. 

The Patriots lost the Super Bowl two weeks later to the Giants, 21-17, as the Ravens regrouped and made additions. 

One of those additions was Justin Tucker, who signed as an undrafted free agent and beat Cundiff out for the job in training camp. Tucker is currently the most accurate kicker in NFL history. 

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The next season, the Ravens finished the regular season 10-6 and though they had to play in the Wild Card round, found themselves in Foxboro once again for the AFC Championship Game. They dominated the Patriots 28-13 and went on to win the Super Bowl two weeks later. 

So while Evans’ drop, and Cundiff’s miss, might’ve been painful in the moment, that game led to a Super Bowl victory a year later, as well as one of the best special teams players the league has ever seen.

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