The Ravens announced Wednesday they had released WR Jacoby Jones, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN. The move was certainly curious, as the cut saved the Ravens almost no money and his release didn't ease the cap number at all. Jones was the Ravens' hero in 2012 after catching an 80-yard touchdown against Denver to send the AFC Divisional round game into overtime, a game the Ravens would go on to win on their way to securing the Super Bowl title that season.
Jones was never a huge receiving threat during his Ravens tenure, usually serving a role no higher than the No. 3, but he has been known as one of the league's most dangerous kick returners, a fact well known by the Steelers, as Jones has scored a return touchdown against Pittsburgh in each of the past two seasons.
His special teams contributory value might make him appealing to the Steelers in free agency, but he wouldn't likely command any kind of guaranteed money on what would likely be a one-year deal (and a promise that Mike Tomlin doesn't try to trip him).
He's the first of what could be a few other notable Ravens set to become free agents. Pernell McPhee, a dynamic pass rushing specialist is already set to command a high salary in the open market, reportedly seeking $8-10 million a year, figures which will likely push him out of Baltimore's price range given their cap woes. Justin Forsett, who was the AFC's second leading rusher, will also hit free agency while Torrey Smith's rookie deal is set to expire, and he doesn't appear he's part of Steve Biscotti's long-term plans, according to Hensley.
Even Steve Smith, who reemerged as a primetime receiving target is 35 and while the team hopes to retain his services, he would potentially wind up somewhere else. On the defensive side of the ball, CB Ladarius Webb and DE Haloti Ngata have a combined cap number of $28 million and a combined guaranteed salary of $14 million, meaning their days as members of the Baltimore Ravens could be numbered.
Given the possible turnover, the 2015 Ravens could wind up fielding a drastically different roster. And as arguably the biggest competitor to steal Pittsburgh's AFC North crown, a depleted Baltimore team could be good news to a Steelers team hoping to win back-to-back division titles for the first time since 2007 and 2008.