Unquestionably, three of the most important players for the Baltimore Ravens on the defensive side of the football over the past several seasons had been safety Eric Weddle, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley.
After new General Manager Eric DeCosta said that the Ravens would like to have all of them back, they are now looking ahead to an offseason in which they could lose or part with all three of them. they already released Weddle three years into a four-year contract as he heads into his age-34 season.
Baltimore officially elected not to place the franchise tag on Mosley yesterday, but while they reportedly still want to re-sign him, he is expected to hit the open market when the new league year begins on the 13th. Reportedly, they are open to re-signing him “for the right price”. How often does a top-of-the-market free agent re-sign for “the right price”?
As for Suggs, the 36-year-old continued a transition into more of a rotational player in 2018 but still remained productive, posting seven sacks with 34 tackles, a forced fumble, and six passes defensed. He is still capable of playing at a high level and could be a quality rotational piece for another team, which he seems open to if the Ravens are ready to move on.
That would be an awful lot of leadership quickly vacating what is largely a pretty veteran defense, especially if they also lose Mosley, their signal-caller. He will obviously be the big-ticket item, and perhaps the release of Weddle was with a mind toward making dur that they keep the five-year veteran and four-time Pro Bowler in-house.
The current strength of their defense is largely at the cornerback position, where they have stockpiled Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Carr, Jimmy Smith, and Tavon Young, the latter of whom they just locked up to a long-term extension.
With Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce along the defensive line, that is another key area of strength, but not only Suggs but also Za’Darius Smith, coming off a career year, is an unrestricted free agent and it’s not clear they intend to re-sign him, following in the footsteps of Paul Kruger and Pernell McPhee, though they still have Matthew Judon and a couple of young edge rushers heading into their third season.
The Ravens already saved some change by releasing Michael Crabtree, but they also need to replace both him and John Brown at wide receiver, who were their two starters in 2018. Baltimore’s expenses can start adding up quickly if they are not careful.