- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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This doesn't come as much of a surprise. Actually, the only surprise is that this didn't come sooner. The Ravens traded wide receiver Anquan Boldin in March after he refused to take a pay cut from his $6 million salary, so it was only a matter of time before Baltimore to reduce the $3 million salary for a part-time player like Leach.
Leach, 31, becomes the ninth starter from the Super Bowl team not to return for the Ravens. Baltimore will have $6.6 million in salary-cap room after it creates $3 million by cutting ties with Leach.
In two seasons with Leach, the Ravens ranked 10th and 11th in rushing.
This is what Leach posted on Twitter on Monday night: "Thank @ravens organization for a great two years. I came here and did what we set out to do and that's win the Super Bowl. My time here is up but what we accomplished, we will be forever linked. Thank the fans for accepting me and my family to Bmore. #newchapter#samegoal"
Leach is the top fullback in the NFL, but it will be interesting to see what he makes as a free agent. The fullback position has been decreasing in importance as teams go to more pass-oriented attacks.
The Ravens have been among the teams getting away from the fullback. Leach played in only 42 percent of the Ravens' offensive snaps last season and had 22 snaps during the Ravens' Super Bowl victory.
Leach's departure will give rookie fourth-round pick Kyle Juszczyk an opportunity to get more playing time. But Juszczyk is more of an H-back who can be moved around and make more of an impact in the passing game. He's not a pure lead blocker like Leach.
The Ravens will miss Leach's toughness and presence in the locker room, where he was one of the more respected players.