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Late For Work 12/31: Predicting Who Stays And Who Goes

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Predicting Who Stays And Who Goes

The Ravens are currently scheduled to have 13 unrestricted free agents this offseason.

It is unlikely they can keep them all.

So who stays and who goes?

The list includes (not counting Brandon Stokley, as he plans to retire):

TE Dallas Clark
DT Terrence Cody
TE Ed Dickson
CB Corey Graham
DT Arthur Jones
WR Jacoby Jones
S James Ihedigbo
S Jeromy Miles
OT Eugene Monroe
OT Michael Oher
TE Dennis Pitta
RB Bernard Scott
LB Daryl Smith

Of these 13 players, The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec believes the priority players to re-sign are Pitta, Monroe and Smith. Arthur Jones will be coveted too, but may be out of the Ravens' price range due to salary cap restrictions.

ESPN's Jamison Hensley gives his predictions on seven Ravens free agents:

SS James Ihedigbo: Sign only as backup plan
Because he was such a pleasant surprise by notching 101 tackles and bringing intensity and leadership to the locker room, many would love to see Ihedigbo back. But looking at the big picture, Ihedigbo and first-round pick Matt Elam play the same strong safety position, and Hensley recommends the Ravens go out and try to find a true free safety to let Elam move back his normal position. "[I]t's in the Ravens' best interest to add a free safety with better ball skills and move Elam to strong safety," wrote Hensley. "Ihedigbo would be an excellent backup plan."

DL Arthur Jones: Ravens won't be able to afford himThe consensus is that Jones was the Ravens' overall best defensive lineman in 2013, and because of that he could command a big pay day on the market like Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and Cary Williams. "This is another situation where the development of the player will draw too much interest from other teams in free agency," Hensley wrote. "The Ravens would undoubtedly want Jones back, but his play will price him out of what the Ravens can pay him."

WR Jacoby Jones: $4 million would be too muchJones was a playmaker for the Ravens, especially in the return game. It took him awhile to get going on offense after injuring his knee in the season opener. But Hensley says the Ravens need an "upgrade" at the No. 2 receiver slot and a $4 million price tag would be too much. "If he doesn't command much in free agency and comes back for less, then it makes more sense to re-sign Jones," the ESPN blogger wrote.

OT Eugene Monroe: Priority to re-signQuarterback Joe Flacco needs someone to protect his blindside and Monroe proved he's the man for the job. "The team has to make it a priority to keep him," Hensley wrote. "Monroe isn't a Pro Bowl blocker, but he's better than what the Ravens can get and he would fit into the team's price range. And, unlike [Bryant] McKinnie, the Ravens won't have to worry about Monroe's attitude and physical conditioning."

OT Michael Oher: Time to part waysOher was the Ravens' first-round draft pick in 2009, but Hensley says he never lived up to that billing and is an "average" right tackle. Oher will likely get paid this offseason, but "it's time to part ways" with the Ravens.

TE Dennis Pitta: Must do everything possible to keep himNo one thought Pitta would return this season after suffering a dislocated hip in training camp. Shoot, some even said it might end his career. Yet he returned for the Minnesota game in Week 14 and was a major part of the Ravens' comeback win. "The Ravens have to do everything they can to keep Pitta," Hensley wrote. "When completely healthy, he's the Ravens' best weapon on third down and in the red zone. Losing Pitta would be more devastating to Flacco and the passing game than parting ways with Anquan Boldin this year."

LB Daryl Smith: Short-term deal makes senseFew talked about missing Ray Lewis on the field, and Smith was a major reason for that. "A short-term deal would make sense for Smith, who will turn 32 in March," wrote Hensley. "A big part of the decision with Smith hinges on whether the Ravens believe rookie second-round pick Arthur Brown can step up into a starting role next season and whether the team wants Jameel McClain at his current price tag ($3.2 million salary in 2014)."

Best To Worst Season Grades

I usually use this space to give Pro Football Talk's (PFF) grades for the Ravens' previous game, but with the season officially in the rearview mirror, let's take a look at the cumulative grades from the season.

Note: PFF grades each individual player on every snap using a value between 2.0 and -2.0, with increments of 0.5. The average of most plays is 0. Those scores are then added together for an overall score for each player. Every overall score that is positive is considered a favorable game, and any game over 1.0 is particularly strong. In order to get the grades for each position group, the total scores for every player are added together to come up with a total grade for the group.

In their assessment, Pro Football Focus grades the result of every play. The service says that "we firmly believe that we are more than 90 percent accurate in our grading of individual plays… We are grading what happened, and it is safe to assume that in the vast majority of cases the assignments carried out were the assignments called on that play." The Ravens coaching staff could have different grades based on the plays calls and assignments.

This is just one website's analysis, feel free to discuss …

OFFENSEDEFENSE
NameSnap CountRatingNameSnap CountRating
Eugene Monroe80125.0Elvis Dumervil57427.4
Marshal Yanda118110.7Arthur Jones52915.7
Brandon Stokley1171.8Haloti Ngata71414.5
Torrey Smith11431.5Terrell Suggs92513.0
Jacoby Jones5731.3Chris Canty5797.4
Jah Reid230.9Lardarius Webb9977.3
Ricky Wagner1310.5Brandon Williams934.0
Tyrod Taylor210.2Corey Graham7054.0
Kyle Juszczyk40.0Pernell McPhee3133.8
Bernard Scott13-0.3James Ihedigbo10983.7
Dennis Pitta163-0.4Jimmy Smith10683.4
Shaun Draughn11-0.8DeAngelo Tyson1541.8
Marlon Brown821-0.9Josh Bynes4651.8
Bernard Pierce414-1.2Omar Brown20.0
Billy Bajema68-1.3Marcus R. Spears145-0.1
Tandon Doss315-1.4Albert McClellan5-0.1
Deonte Thompson160-1.6John Simon3-0.2
Kelechi Osemele443-4.9Arthur Brown211-0.4
Dallas Clark380-5.2Daryl Smith1097-0.8
Vonta Leach230-7.1Jeromy Miles10-1.0
Joe Flacco1173-11.7Chykie Brown39-1.3
Bryant McKinnie380-11.8Michael Huff97-2.4
Michael Oher1125-13.6Matt Elam1034-3.6
Ray Rice730-15.7Terrence Cody240-5.0
Ed Dickson658-16.1Jameel McClain376-8.9
Gino Gradkowski1181-18.1Courtney Upshaw650-9.1
A.Q. Shipley730-19.6

Hoping Fans Appreciate Ravens Success

What was going on in the world the last time the Ravens missed the playoffs in 2007?

Baltimore Beatdown's Jason Butt did his research and found that Illinois Senator Barack Obama announced his intention to run for the office of the President of the United States.

That seems like forever ago.

That was also the year six Utah coal miners were trapped after a shaft collapsed, the U.S. was fighting a war in Iraq and an eight-lane bridge in Minneapolis fell into the Mississippi River.

The repeated trips to the postseason coincided with John Harbaugh's arrival as the Ravens head coach in 2008. 

His success has made him one of the longest-tenured coaches in the NFL with Bill Belichick (hired in 2000), Marvin Lewis (2003), Tom Coughlin (2004), Mike McCarthy (2006), Sean Payton (2006) and Mike Tomlin (2007) being the only coaches with more time with their current teams.

The Baltimore Sun's Matt Vensel hopes the long-lasting success in Baltimore isn't lost on Ravens fans after missing out on the playoffs this year.

"Once this bitter taste leaves the mouths of the fans –  trust me, the players, coaches and front-office folks will be tasting it for longer – I would hope that everyone appreciates how sweet things have been for the Ravens since 2008 and realize the Ravens aren't going anywhere, that this season was the anomaly, not the previous five," he wrote.

"It may take another year or two, but you can be sure the Ravens will get back there."

Quick Hits

  • Ravens assistant offensive line coach Todd Washington declined a "lucrative offer" to become the Southern California offensive line coach. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Pittsburgh Head Coach Mike Tomlin said: "Obviously, there's a lot of work that needs to be done from an officiating standpoint." Yes, including keeping coaches off the field of play. [CBSSports.com]
  • @RichCimini: Ed Reed said retiring is a possibility, but he'd like to play another year, especially with the Jets. [Twitter]
  • "One of the most puzzling trends over the past month has been the disappearance of the pass rush, which was the team's biggest strength for much of this season," wrote Vensel. "Considering how fierce the pass rush was in the first half of the season, there was no bigger disappointment for the Ravens in the second half." [The Baltimore Sun]
  • @RavensInsider: Ravens rushed for a franchise-record low 1,328 yards, 3.1 per carry, less than previous franchise lows of 1,589 yards, 3.8 average  in 1997 [Twitter]
  • "[Ray Rice] deserves a chance to come back healthy next season and show he can play at his old level," wrote Childs Walker. "We may look back at Rice's 2013 – when his per-carry average was a yard lower and his per-catch average nearly three yards lower than his previous worsts – as the year when he stopped being Ray Rice. If that's the case, don't expect the Ravens to keep paying a premium salary to a non-premium player. That's the unsentimental reality of the NFL." [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Yesterday afternoon … @A_Mellette3: Today is a day I would like to forget [Twitter]
  • @mzentiz: A lot will change before the start of next season, but 10 of the Ravens' 16 games will be against teams that finished this year .500 or worse [Twitter]
  • @RavensInsider: Matt Furstenburg, who underwent sports hernia surgery, said his rehab is going well. Expects to be able to take part in offseason program [Twitter]
  • @mattvensel: Likely gone. RT @RavensInsider Vonta Leach: 'I'll sit down and talk to coach Harbaugh, then talk to Ozzie and see where we go from here.' [Twitter]
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