Quarterback Joe Flacco’s contract status has gotten plenty of attention and the future plans of safety Ed Reed have plenty of people curious, but those aren’t the only decisions facing the Ravens this offseason.
A pair of linebackers are also heading for free agency this offseason. Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe were both key parts of the team’s defense this season and both of them said in the aftermath of Sunday’s victory that they want to return to help the Ravens defend their championship.
“I just have to let it happen and let my agent do his job. I would love to be here, but it’s not up to me,” said Kruger, via the Baltimore Sun. “I’ve never been through the process before.”
“It’s a business, but I would love to be here,” Ellerbe said. “Baltimore is where I got my start, but it’s not up to me. It’s out of my control. The Ravens know how I feel. I hope we can work something out.”
Both players proved their value on Sunday. Ellerbe had nine tackles, one for a loss, and Kruger sacked Colin Kaepernick twice on the evening. It’s going to be very tough for the Ravens to bring both of them back while also taking care of Flacco, which might leave Ellerbe as the favorite to return. Ray Lewis‘ departure makes the inside linebacker more valuable, while the team drafted Courtney Upshaw last year as an edge player who could replace Kruger if his 13.5 sacks across 20 games this season wind up making him too expensive for a return engagement in Baltimore.