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Ravens, Pro Bowl fullback Vontae Leach to part ways

The Ravens, who have reshaped their roster and purged many pricey veterans this offseason, are now prepared to release Vontae Leach within the next 24 hours if they can't find a trade partner for him. Leach has been a key figure since being signed from Houston, but the offense is evolving into more spread formations, the team drafted a versatile fullback, and Leach was set to make $3 million this season with a cap hit in excess of $4 million.

Leach had been in discussions with the team about a restructured deal, but could not come to an agreement. With Leach seeking opportunities elsewhere, it behooves him to have his status resolved sooner rather than later, with other teams' budgets getting set the closer we get to training camp and rosters coming into focus as well. The Ravens would likely not command more than a very late round pick for Leach -- they received a sixth-round pick for pricey veteran Anquan Boldin -- and with fullbacks out of favor and Leach later in his career, there would be limited suitors to assume his contract.

However, Leach may be able to get $2 million per year or so as a free agent. Becoming one now, rather than trying to in August or September, will help his cause. Baltimore has already parted with key older players like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Matt Birk, Bernard Pollard and Brendon Ayanbadejo, as well as Boldin, and let younger starters Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and Cary Williams to free agency.

The team feels it is well equipped to fill its leadership void, however, and could end up being better on both sides of the ball.


Before joining CBS Sports, Jason La Canfora was the Washington Redskins beat writer for The Washington Post for six years and served as NFL Network's insider. The Baltimore native can be seen every Sunday during the season on The NFL Today.
 
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