Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome was noncommittal on Wednesday when asked by the media whether linebacker Terrell Suggs, who is entering the final year of his contract, will be back with the team for 2014.
According to a report from ESPN's Jamison Henley, Newsome said the decision will be made next week when team executives meet at owner Steve Bisciotti's Florida home to discuss the matter. The 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year will account for $12.4 million of the team's salary cap next season. The Ravens could either release him, and thus create $7.8 million in cap room, or negotiate a contract extension with Suggs that would lower his cap-hit.
Newsome said Wednesday the franchise is "not afraid" to get rid of players, pointing to wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who was let go by Baltimore last year:
"Terrell is a real good football player. It not only shows up in the pass game, but it shows up in the run game. But that being said, we let a good football player go last year [wide receiver Anquan Boldin]. So we're not afraid and I'm not averted when it comes to letting guys walk out the door. What we'll do is we'll look at every aspect of it and see what's best for the 2014 and 2015 and 2016 Ravens and make that decision."
In his final eight games of this past season, Suggs finished with 20 tackles and one sack. The 2013 Super Bowl champions finished this season 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007. According to the report, Newsome said Baltimore will look to get bigger on the offensive line and use the offseason to sign a wide receiver and a more athletic safety.
Bisciotti said fans shouldn't expect major changes to the team before next season because a .500 record isn't anything that he believes should prompt sweeping reform to the roster:
"If we found ourselves at 3-13 like the Falcons, I think they're sitting there thinking, 'We got to make a lot of major changes.' I really don't think we do. If 8-8 is a failure, I hope it's a long time that I feel worse than this."FARRAR: Roger Goodell talks playoff expansion and the end of cold-weather Super Bowls