The Baltimore Ravens have just over a month to bask on the glory of their football world championship. The free agency period will open on March 12, and G.M. Ozzie Newsome has likely already begun assessing the state of his team, which is littered with question marks.
By our count, the Ravens have 13 impending unrestricted free agents, at least eight of whom made significant contributions to the team’s Super Bowl run. Seven more Ravens are scheduled for restricted free agency.
Quarterback Joe Flacco tops the list of unrestricted free agents, and he is at the very least expected to be retained via the franchise tag. Outside linebacker Paul Kruger — Baltimore’s best pass rusher throughout this past season — is next up as a crucial impending free agent. Safety Ed Reed, left tackle Bryant McKinnie, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, cornerback Cary Williams, and nose tackle Maake Kemoeatu are other unrestricted free agents who started for the 2012 Ravens. Cornerback Chris Johnson, tight end Billy Bajema, safeties Sean Considine and James Ihedigbo, linebacker Ricky Brown, and defensive lineman Ryan McBean round out the 13 UFAs.
Core impending restricted free agents include tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, and defensive lineman Arthur Jones. Kick returner David Reed, offensive lineman Ramon Harewood, long snapper Morgan Cox, and safety Emanuel Cook are also slated for restricted free agency.
The Ravens will open the offseason $5 million above the 2013 salary cap, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Inevitably, Newsome is going to have to make some tough cuts and allow some key free agents to walk.