They were symbolic mid-season cuts because both had been under-performing— but even more significant, John Harbaugh cut them to send a message to the rest of the Ravens roster.
He might as well have said, "Look, I know you were brought in here as free agents after successful careers elsewhere, but right now I just don't think you're capable of playing like a Raven"…
Sure, it didn't help that Michael Huff had a horrible game against Denver in the opener, or that he messed up a kick-return coverage on special teams against the Steelers… or that Marcus Spears was not making the most of the limited playing time he got with the Ravens this past half-season…
The slumping Baltimore Ravens shook up their roster Wednesday by cutting two veteran former first-round draft picks: safety Michael Huff and defensive end Marcus Spears.
Huff, 30, signed a three-year, $6 million contract ($1.5 million guaranteed) with the Ravens in March after seven seasons with the Oakland Raiders, who drafted him seventh overall in 2006. But he lost his starting job after the opener to Matt Elam.
Spears, 30, also made only one start for the Ravens after eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, who drafted him 20th overall in 2005. His two-year, $2.75 million deal with Baltimore included $600,000 guaranteed – another modest investment by general manager Ozzie Newsome.
Both are vested veterans but will be subject to waivers, like all players, now that the trading deadline has passed.
To replace them, the Ravens promoted safeties Omar Brown and Brynden Trawick from their practice squad and signed receiver Kamar Aiken and quarterback Nick Stephens to the practice squad.
The Ravens (3-4) have lost two in a row and trail the Cincinnati Bengals by 2½ games in the AFC North. They had their bye last weekend and visit Cleveland on Sunday (a 4:15 P.M. EST scheduled start).