The Ravens relied heavily on Paul Kruger to carry the team's pass rush last season, as the outside linebacker notched 13.5 total sacks during the season.
But now Kruger is an unrestricted free agent and will be difficult for the Ravens to retain. He's considered arguably the top free agent pass rusher, and will draw plenty of suitors on the open market.
If he ends up leaving Baltimore, that would leave a void for the Ravens that they could look to fill with a moderately-priced free agent.
Here's a look at some of the players on the market the Ravens may consider:
Connor Barwin, Houston TexansUnrestricted (5th Season), 26, 6-foot-4, 268 pounds
Barwin's future with the Texans is up in the air after a fairly disappointing season in which he registered just three sacks. The team opted not to use the franchise tag on him, but the two sides still have interest in working out a long-term deal. If Barwin hits the open market, he would be an attractive free agent to a number of teams considering he notched 11.5 sacks in 2011. Barwin has said he wants to join a winning team, so Baltimore is likely on that list and the Ravens also have a reputation for bringing in former Texans like Jacoby Jones, Vonta Leach and Bernard Pollard.
Shaun Phillips, San Diego ChargersUnrestricted (10th season), 31, 6-3, 250
Phillips' time with the Chargers has likely come to a close after spending the last eight seasons in San Diego. The veteran linebacker, who led the Chargers with 9.5 sacks last year, will likely end up hitting free agency as part of the team's efforts to clear cap space. Phillips has been a solid defender for the Chargers for the last several seasons and one of the team's top pass rushers. Phillips has at least seven sacks in seven of the last eight seasons, and has been a starter since 2005. He could bring a veteran presence to the lineup and won't carry as high a price tag as Kruger.
Antwan Barnes, San Diego ChargersUnrestricted (8th season), 28, 6-1, 251
Like Phillips, Barnes appears to be done in San Diego. The outside linebacker started his career with the Ravens and spent three seasons in Baltimore before getting traded to the Eagles. He eventually caught on with the Chargers and has 18.5 sacks over the last three seasons. He's emerged as a pass-rush specialist, but had a relatively disappointing 2012 season, notching just three sacks. Barnes didn't last his first time in Baltimore, but he's developed into a solid pass rusher that could play a similar role as Kruger.
Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis ColtsUnrestricted (12th season), 33, 6-1, 268
The veteran defensive end has been a standout for the Colts throughout his career, but is now looking to go elsewhere after getting released this offseason. Freeney is coming off a down season in which he had just five sacks, the second-lowest total of his career. A number of players around the league have campaigned for Freeney to join their respective teams, and Baltimore has been mentioned by some pundits as an ideal landing spot for him.
Osi Umenyiora, New York GiantsUnrestricted (10th season), 31, 6-3, 255
Like previous offseasons, Umenyiora's name has come up in free agency talk as his future with the Giants is up in the air. He's a proven commodity as a pass rusher and has at least six sacks in his last eight seasons. Umenyiora may not be an every down defensive end at this point of his career, but he can still get after the quarterback and could be a third-down defensive end for the Ravens.
Other Notable Names:
- Darryl Tapp, Philadelphia Eagles
- Juqua Parker, Cleveland Browns
- Robert Geathers, Cincinnati Bengals
- William Hayes, St. Louis Rams