Teams can’t technically release players until 4:01 p.m. ET on Thursday, but we figure to hear about a slew of cuts (and signings-in-waiting) between now and the point at which teams are able to formally make such moves.

The Baltimore Ravens have become the first team to make their pending moves public. And they aren’t minor ones.

The Ravens plan on releasing Willis McGahee, Derrick Mason, Todd Heap and Kelly Gregg, according to Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times.

Average age of that quartet: 33.¬†Total salary they were slated to make in 2011: $18.6 million. So I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised, yet we still are. Maybe we’re just startled by the fact that, for the first time in nearly five months, we have¬†actual football news that we can report and analyze.

Gregg and Mason, who are 34 and 37 respectively, could be retirement candidates. If Mason hangs ‘em up, he’ll walk away as one of the most underrated receivers in NFL history (seriously). If he finds a job elsewhere, expect him to once again be Mr. Reliable in a less pressure-filled capacity.

McGahee and Heap will relocate as backups somewhere.