Over the past few days there has been a lot of movement in the NFL however, one of the more overlooked moves, in my opinion, is the Ravens preparing to cut ties with fullback Vonta Leach via trade, which seems less likely as the Ravens have little leverage, or release. Leach is the latest to fall victim to the mass exodus from Baltimore following their victory over the 49ers in February. Unsurprisingly, money is, in large part, the cause as both parties failed to come to an agreement on a restructured contract.
He was a respected leader in the Ravens locker room and mowed down would-be blockades for Ray Rice effortlessly. He made his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro appearance in 2010 as a member of the Houston Texans and would extend the streak the next two years with the Ravens as he was largely considered the best fullback in the National Football League.
In spite of his achievements, the Ravens have made it quite clear they are not about to pay him $4.33 million. It’s also worth noting that under offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, Leach’s snap count decreased. When he coached the Colts, Caldwell used Eric Foster, their defensive tackle, as a fullback if one was required. So, while money played a great deal into it, I’m certain Caldwell’s history had some sort of effect at the negotiation table.
At 31 years of age, Leach now finds himself wondering what’s next. He still has plenty left in the tank and, despite the decline of the position within the league, there should be some sort of market for a bona-fide blocker and All-Pro. But with a little over a month before training camp begins, it may be difficult to find a team with the roster space and cap room, depending on Leach’s asking price, and a need for a blocking back.
There have been some suggestions that the Jets could be potential suitors however, there are a few obstacles. The first of which is, once again, money. No one knows Leach’s asking price but presumably he’ll want a contract worthy of his previous three years of service. Would the Jets really be willing to spend a lot of money on a fullback? John Idzik has been bargain shopping at Kohls (shout out to DrewFromNJ!) and Leach may price Idzik out of his preferred range.
Then there’s also the matter of Lex Hilliard and Tommy Bohanon. Granted, Hilliard was wildly inconsistent and may not even be on the team come Opening Day but, the rookie does stand a legitimate chance to make the team. After getting rave reviews from Brad Idzik, his father John decided to snap up Bohanon with New York’s seventh round selection and for good reason. For the most part, he was a consistent blocker at Wake Forest and his catching abilities are excellent and extremely valuable in Mornhinweg’s offense. Leach has solid catching abilities but he is more apt at blocking whereas Bohanon has a higher ceiling that gives him the ability to perfect his craft and become a dangerous force in both areas. Plus he’s much cheaper and younger.
That isn’t to say the Jets wouldn’t be interested in giving Leach some burn and mentor the young rookie and become a leader in the locker room but a few dominoes would need to fall in order for it to gain traction and right now, I would look for the Jets to stand pat with what they have.