The Ravens have lost their biggest-name free agent left on the market.
Outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw reached a deal with the Atlanta Falcons Friday, bringing an end to his four-year run in Baltimore.
Upshaw, 26, was the Ravens' top pick in 2012. He started 51 games over the last four seasons, and finished last year with 51 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles.
The Ravens knew it would be difficult to keep the gritty outside linebacker, and Head Coach John Harbaugh indicated at owners meetings earlier this week that he might end up leaving in free agency.
"I haven't talked to Courtney at all," Harbaugh said Tuesday. "I'm not sure where he's at. He's still on [our] radar."
Upshaw never developed into a true pass rusher, but his greatest strength was his ability to set the edge and stuff the run and his departure leaves the Ravens with a need in that area. Baltimore has veterans Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil returning next year, but Suggs is coming off a torn Achilles and Dumervil is best suited as a pass rusher.
The Ravens could also look to the draft to provide some reinforcements at outside linebacker.
Upshaw is a hard-nosed player who helped the Ravens win a Super Bowl and never missed a game during his Ravens career. He amassed 183 tackles, five sacks, seven passes defensed and three forced fumbles during his time in Baltimore.
The good news with Upshaw leaving is that it could help the Ravens get a compensatory pick next season. Baltimore has now had Upshaw, guard Kelechi Osemele, receiver Chris Givens and quarterback Matt Schaub all leave in free agency. The Ravens have added safety Eric Weddle and receiver Mike Wallace as unrestricted free agents.