Jamison HensleyESPN staff writer2 minutes to read
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens released six-time Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell on Monday, allowing the team to take franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson under the salary cap.
The Ravens created $7 million in much-needed cap space by cutting Campbell, who had the fifth highest ($9.44 million) on the team.
Campbell announced at the Super Bowl in February that he intended to return for his 16th season. At 36, he is the oldest active defensive lineman in the NFL.
“Calais defines what it means to be a Raven,” Ravens general manager Eric D’Costa said in a statement. “He epitomizes professionalism, and his contributions to our organization—on and off the field—are immense. With his passion, drive, and toughness, Calais has undoubtedly produced a career worthy of a Hall of Fame.”
DeCosta did not rule out Campbell returning later in the offseason. “While this is the worst part of the job, we haven’t closed the door on the possibility of him returning to our team in the future,” D’Costa said.
The move with Campbell is the latest and largest by Baltimore to lower the salary cap by Wednesday after placing the $32.416 million non-exclusive franchise mark on Jackson. Over the past five days, the Ravens have opened up $14.8 million in space with one trade (Campbell), two pay cuts (back Gus Edwards and nose tackle Michael Pearce) and one trade (safety Chuck Clark to the New York Jets’ 2024 pick seven).
Campbell is coming off a rolling season in which he recorded 5.5 sacks. But Campbell has had some durability issues lately, missing a total of nine games in the past three seasons. The Ravens could move Broderick Washington to Campbell’s starting spot if they don’t address the free agency or draft void.
One of the reasons for Campbell’s return is that he has reached 100 career bags. He currently has 99 sacks and admitted at the end of the season that the feat “isn’t high on the list, but it’s something I really want.”
In Round 2 in 2008, Campbell recorded 809 tackles and 237 quarterback hits while playing for the Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Ravens. He was named First Team All-Pro after the 2017 season, when he recorded a career-best 14.5 sacks for the Jaguars and finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting.
Campbell has also been recognized as one of the finest players in the league. Following this season, Campbell was awarded the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, which honors those who display integrity and honor on the field. In 2019, he was named Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.
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