Middle Lb's are not getting big money anymore, low paying position. Market for Ellerbe wont be high off ONE decent year, not all pro or anything.
Hope we keep Ellerbe.
Hope he doesn't cost too much.
Hope he doesn't get lazy or hurt, making us regret it.
I think Cary will most likely get a big deal that he's not worth. I truly believe Graham has made him expendable and it has proven to be a great pickup. Cary can't hang with physical #1's outside and gets beat to spots frequently. He'll have some good moments, but he's way too inconsistent for that type of money and to be labeled a #1 CB.
I'd love to retain Kruger. No, he's not really an every down LB, but his pass rushing skills are increasing, he's getting better. He'll most likely get a deal we just can't match. In the end, it may be worth it since, like some of you have said, he is pretty must just a situational guy, but who else do we have besides Suggs that can provide any sort of pass rush? Who knows if Suggs will be the same, personally I do, but you never know. I like Courtney a lot and by next year he'll be a superior edge setter, but is he a guy that can improve and notch 6-8 sacks? He logged 1.5 this season. Something to keep the pressure off of Suggs and even Ngata. I think it's going to be interesting to see what the plan is if Kruger isn't retained. Perhaps they try to get a bargain for a vet or draft someone around round 3 or 4. We also have intriguing guys like McAdoo and Hamilton. Maybe we see the D truly transition to a 4-3 as well.
So, ultimately, although I do like Kruger's potential, I think it'd be wiser to invest in Ellerbe. For one, I think he has the ability to be a pretty special player at ILB. He has come into his own this season. I know about his injuries and him being in the doghouse before, but I'd take the risk and give him a solid 4 year contract. I don't expect the market for him to be huge. We did see some good ILB's last year go for awhile without much mention during FA. If it's a reasonable deal, and we can cut bait with some of the vets, it would allow us to most likely make another solid signing in FA. The FA would most likely be for the defensive side of the ball at either DL, OLB, or S. McClain really shouldn't have gotten that deal last year, he's just not that good as a starter. If we have to keep him, at least it's depth and he has shown that he's a quality leader. Another player I really like is Josh Bynes, even if just for depth, he's playing pretty impressively.
Cary is gone as we have enough CBs as we usually take one in rounds 3-5 every year for depth (Brown, Asa) I want to see what Asa can do.
I dont think we keep Kruger as we have Upshaw and he would be a luxury.
Elerbie will be re signed and wont get the kind of money bart scott got from the jets as he was a 3 year full time starter.
I also think Ed comes back as we dont have any other options.
As far as cuts, I see Leach gone ( we run fine without him and would have 3M in cap space) I also see Boldin being asked to take a pay cut. Bobbie williams is gone, Birk will retire or be cut. I can see us cutting McClain as well as Bynes as played well. I would love us to sign the Bama LB from the Raiders who will prob be cut who is in their dog house all year.
I also think we reach a deal with Flacco its best for both even if we slightly over pay him. It will take a lot off the cap as we dont want to start FA with a 15M franchise cap hit.
Upshaw and Kruger aren't the same player.
Ozzie seems to highly value outside pass rush, especially from "tweeners" (guys like Bouleware and Suggs who played defensive end in college but are athletic enough to play OLB in the NFL). Kruger fits that bill. It won't surprise me if Newsome pays Kruger and lets Ellerbe walk if he's looking for too much money in Ozzie's opinion. What hurts Kruger's chances of staying here, imo, isn't Upshaw, but Suggs. Suggs is still (when not injured) a dominant player in the NFL, and he's in the role that Kruger best fills (as a starter). He's not an edge-setter. Upshaw is already better than Kruger against the run, imo. Upshaw is the heir to JJ, not Suggs.
I think we've seen the end of Suggs as a potential All-Pro pass rusher. He's still got the good technique and ability to be a good player, but I doubt he'll be around more than a few more years. NOW is the time to look to the future for the next Ravens "premier" pass rusher. I'm not sure Kruger is definitely the way to do that, but he's an option and he's been an OUTSTANDING pass rusher this year. On a per-play basis, he's been among the very top players in the NFL, it's just that he doesn't do it every down every game.
Really the bottom line is this, the teams that have a dominant DL usually make the playoffs, and go deep in them. Look at the Giants, the Colts of a few years ago(yes Manning had his part but it was their D that knocked us out of the playoffs), the Saints of a couple years ago, the Texans last year, etc.... not to mention OUR own line with Ngata ad Redding and before that well we all know what it looked like.