AFC Notes: McPhee, Revis, Johnson

Teams have scoured the Ravens‘ depth chart in recent years to bolster their own defenses, and Pernell McPhee is probably the latest Baltimore-created free agent that will morph from part-time Ravens cog to full-time starter elsewhere, writes Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.

Paul Kruger, Arthur Jones and Dannell Ellerbe cashed in their mostly situational success with the Ravens for lucrative deals with the Browns, Colts and Dolphins, respectively. A fifth-round pick in 2011, McPhee grew immensely this season behind Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs, collecting 7 1/2 sacks for a fearsome Ravens pass pursuit that nearly lifted the team to its third AFC title game in four years. But with Dumervil and Suggs still on the books for next year as Baltimore’s seventh- and ninth-highest cap figures, respectively, McPhee probably finds a much better fortune elsewhere. The Ravens possess just $5.7MM in cap space, according to OverTheCap.

In the mold of Broncos part-time defensive end Malik Jackson, McPhee earned rave reviews from the analytics crowd even if the take-notice all-22 tape didn’t produce a starting job. While Jackson was Pro Football Focus’ third-best 4-3 defensive end last season in just 578 snaps, McPhee was even better, garnering the second-best 3-4 outside linebacker grade (subscription required) — ahead of Suggs (fourth) and Dumervil (sixth) — while playing only 540. McPhee charted 64 quarterback pressures and at 6-foot-3, 280 pounds, will give a team the option of playing him at multiple positions as the Ravens did.

CBSSports’ Pete Prisco ranks the 26-year-old backup 10th overall on his top-50 free agent board, behind only Justin Houston among linebackers.

  • Fellow Ravens free agent Torrey Smith will have options next month, and’s Clifton Brown examines where the might go if he leaves the mid-Atlantic region for the first time. Brown lists the Browns, Panthers and Seahawks as potential destinations. A Virginia native who emerged as one of the NFL’s best deep threats out of Maryland, Smith just turned 26. But he’s coming off his worst season as a pro with just 49 catches for 767 yards. Those numbers are nearly 500 yards off his career-best 2013 total, but his value could increase if/when Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas and Randall Cobb are franchise-tagged.
  • The Ravens’ decisions aren’t as high-profile as what the Patriots are staring at, however, and the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian writes the duo of Darrelle Revis and Devin McCourty are irreplaceable in this market or in the draft. Regaining his first-team All-Pro status after two essentially lost years, Revis, should the Patriots pick up his team option, would carry a $25MM cap number team option for this season. New England presumably won’t pay that, as Pro Football Rumors examined this month. The franchise tag for McCourty will be around $9.6MM, but the Super Bowl champions are more than $2MM over the cap, making the notion of retaining both of these standouts less likely.
  • Coming off his worst season in which he played at least 15 games, Andre Johnson is slated to earn $10.5MM in base salary next season with a cap figure ($16.1MM) that’s not commensurate with his performance: 936 yards, three TDs. The Texans wideout will be 34 in July and stuck again in a murky quarterback situation, prompting the Houston Chronicle’s Randy Harvey to suggest the Texans should liberate Johnson from this scenario.
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