Ravens Notes: McPhee, Johnson, Flacco

Ravens pass rusher Pernell McPhee is set to be the surprise star of free agency, despite starting only six games since being drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Due to his age and versatility, Chris Wesseling of NFL.com writes that he has hit the “free agency jackpot.”

Wesseling cites reports that McPhee could be in line for a deal with between $8MM and $10MM in annual salary. That type of contract is reliant on more than one year of part-time pass rushing prowess. McPhee’s potential comes from being 26 years old, having great size at 6’3″ and 280 pounds, and the ability to line up all over the field, rushing the passer from outside linebacker, inside linebacker, defensive end, and nose tackle in 2014.

The Colts, Falcons, Browns, and Raiders are all considered potential landing spots for his services, according to Wesseling. The Ravens’ cap situation will make it nearly impossible for them to compete for his services in free agency.

Here are some other notes from around the Ravens organization as free agency approaches:

  • Since the Jets declined Chris Johnson‘s option for 2015, there has been a link made between the former 2,000 yard rusher and the Ravens. This link has been made due to the team’s interest in Johnson last offseason, writes Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Hensley notes that the team was looking for insurance after Ray Rice‘s down 2013 season, but Johnson decided to go to the Jets where there was a clearer path to a starting job. However, this offseason the Ravens will likely avoid Johnson, who is declining and is coming off legal issues of his own.
  • Hensley also examines the contract situation of quarterback Joe Flacco, who has a large cap number that will restrict the team’s ability to maneuver the roster. Hensley writes that his cap number is manageable at $14.55MM this year, but the team will look to address it next offseason before it jumps all the way to $28.55MM, which would be the highest in the NFL for 2016.
  • The Ravens have a few needs on offense, but the biggest position of need on defense is in the secondary, specifically at cornerback. Unfortunately for them, this looks to be a limited market of available corners, and there will be plenty of suitors driving up the price of the few top options, writes Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Wilson sees Byron Maxwell setting the market at between $8MM and $10MM per year, with other options such as Kareem Jackson, Buster Skrine, Davon House, and Brandon Flowers all falling in just behind those numbers as teams become more desperate to land a top tier corner.
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