When Ravens veterans report for training camp July 18, the battle for spots on the initial 53-man roster will begin in earnest. About 40 of those spots are spoken for, leaving about 50 players vying for maybe a dozen spots.
Coaches always say competition makes everyone better, but it also might make a few veteran players unemployed. Here are five returning Ravens who could find their bubble burst when the team makes its cuts to a 53-man roster Sept. 1:
1. LB Kamalei Correa (third season)
Why he could be cut: The Ravens moved Correa back to outside linebacker this year after trying him on the inside for much of the past two years with little success. Correa was beaten out by Patrick Onwuasor for the starting weak-side linebacker job early last season and averaged about three defensive snaps a game throughout the second half of the season. He finished the year with eight tackles on defense.
New defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale has said Correa is most comfortable on the edge, and he produced 20 sacks in three seasons at Boise State as a defensive end. But the Ravens are already deep at outside linebacker with Terrell Suggs, Matt Judon, Za'Darius Smith and second-year players Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams.
Why he could stay: With past experience on the inside, Correa could potentially fill in at any linebacker spot in the event of injury, and he was a reliable special teams player last season, with seven special teams tackles. He is just 24, and the Ravens might be hoping they can still unlock the potential they saw when they made him a second-round pick.
2. DE Bronson Kaufusi (third season)
Why he could be cut: Kaufusi has hardly seen the field during his first two seasons, and the Ravens remain deep along the defensive line. After missing all of his rookie season with a broken ankle suffered during training camp, Kaufusi played in just three games last year and was a game-day inactive during the final nine games.
Brent Urban, who was the starting defensive end until suffering a Lisfranc foot injury in Week 3, is expected to return to that role this year after signing a new one-year deal, and Carl Davis and second-year defensive end Chris Wormley are also in the mix.
Why he could stay: Injuries have been a major issue with this group, especially for Urban, who has missed 39 of 64 career games. Davis is coming off shoulder surgery this offseason. And while the Ravens didn't lose anyone from the defensive line group, there were no significant additions, either. The only defensive lineman drafted by the Ravens was seventh-rounder Zach Sieler.
3. LB Albert McClellan (eighth season)
Why he could be cut: McClellan is 32 and is coming off a torn ACL that cost him all of last season. He was on the field for minicamp doing sprints and other individual work but did not take part in any team activities. Cutting McClellan would clear about $1.2 million in cap space, but such a move would be more about age and health than money.
Why he could stay: McClellan has carved out a nice career with the Ravens, playing in 90 games since being signed as an undrafted rookie out of Marshall in 2010. Only four players have been with the organization longer, and McClellan is widely respected by teammates as well as coaches, who view him as a mentor to young linebackers such as Bowser, Williams and Bam Bradley.
McClellan can play any linebacker position, and the Ravens lack depth on the inside, where McClellan has made three of his 24 career starts. He also has been a special teams ace, leading the team in special teams tackles three times.
4. WR Breshad Perriman (fourth season)
Why he could be cut: The former first-round draft pick is coming off a lost season in which he made 10 catches for 77 yards and was a healthy inactive in four of the final seven games. He is also due a $650,000 roster bonus on the third day of training camp, according to ESPN. Cutting Perriman would clear about $1.6 million in cap space.
The makeover of the Ravens' receiver corps, with the addition of Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, has bumped Perriman down the depth chart, with Chris Moore bypassing him as well by late last season. Tim White, who can also handle returns, showed promise this spring after missing his rookie year with a thumb injury, and the Ravens drafted a pair of rookie receivers in Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley.
Another strike against Perriman: He is not involved at all on special teams.
Why he could stay: Although the Ravens are understandably running out of patience, they could be hoping Perriman taps into his potential in what amounts to a contract year after the team declined to pick up his fifth-year option for 2019. While Brown has essentially taken Perriman's role as the team's top vertical threat, Brown missed six games last year with injuries.
The Ravens have pledged to unleash a more downfield passing game this year, which plays to Perriman's strengths, though he has not consistently gained the separation they had hoped for when called upon in the past.
Regarding Perriman's future, general manager Ozzie Newsome said earlier this offseason that, "It's up to Breshad. Breshad knows that. … He knows this is his opportunity to make or break being part of the Ravens."
5. TE Maxx Williams (fourth season)
Why he could be cut: The Ravens drafted tight ends in the first and third rounds in Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews. The Ravens envision them being the type of pass-catching, downfield threats they have lacked at the position. Last year, Williams played in 11 games, with 15 catches for 86 yards, an average of 5.7 yards a catch.
The Ravens ranked last in the league in yards per pass play last season.
Williams has been bothered by injuries throughout his career, missing 17 games during the past two seasons.
Why he could stay: The Ravens lack a true fullback, and Williams could be used in an H-back role that involves blocking in the running game. The Ravens utilize their tight ends a lot in Marty Mornhinweg's offense, and last year four tight ends made the opening 53-man roster. The Ravens liked Williams enough to trade up in the second round to draft him in 2015, and he is still young; he turned 24 in April.