The Ravens' surprising decision Wednesday to cut Bernard Pollard, the hard-hitting and tough-talking safety who led the Super Bowl champions in tackles last season, opens up just $1 million of salary-cap room. So at least on the surface, the move appears to go beyond simple finances.

While team officials have yet to comment on Pollard's release, it continues a trend of offseason activity that has the Ravens' roster — particularly on the defensive side — getting younger, thinner, quieter and in some cases, cheaper.

A little more than a month since the Ravens finished a surprising playoff run with a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, seven members of that team who started games this past season are gone and several other key performers are free agents, including defensive backs Ed Reed and Cary Williams, and seem poised to leave as well. Reed will visit the Houston Texans on Thursday.

"That's a lot of players and a lot of key guys on the defense to lose," said former Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger at his news conference Wednesday after he signed with the Cleveland Browns. "I am sure that there is a plan in place and that's a great organization. I feel like there's always going to be a plan, but that is a lot of good players leaving. I was really surprised when I heard about a lot of those moves."