"These decisions are never easy, and this one was difficult for all of us," coach John Harbaugh said, according to The Associated Press. "Billy had a great camp, the best he has had with us. He showed, like he always has, a toughness and an ability to come back and be a top flight NFL kicker."
A journeyman for much of his career, Cundiff, 32, earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in 2010 after connecting on 26-of-29 field-goal attempts and tying an NFL record for touchbacks with 40.
Cundiff's stellar season resulted in a five-year, $14.7 million contract extension that included a $3 million signing bonus and a $1.5 million base salary in 2011.
Cundiff would miss nine field-goal attempts in 2011, though five were on attempts from beyond 50 yards. Cundiff was wide left on a 32-yard attempt that would have forced overtime in the 2011 AFC Championship Game, a miss that put his long-term future with the team in jeopardy.
This summer, Cundiff has been competing against Justin Tucker, an undrafted rookie from the University of Texas. Neither had missed a kick during the first two preseason games, but Tucker apparently outperformed Cundiff in practices and was given an opportunity to handle all the kicking duties in the Ravens' 48-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night.
Tucker was good from 33 and 53 yards and boomed five touchbacks.
By releasing Cundiff, who was due $2.2 million in non-guaranteed base salary, the Ravens will save over $1.81 million in cash as Tucker is set to make the league minimum ($390,000) this season. The move also clears over $2 million in space on the Ravens' salary cap.Follow Brian McIntyre on Twitter @brian_mcintyre.