OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens' have four key edge rushers — Matthew Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee — that can test the free-market this offseason.
General manager Eric DeCosta will be hard-pressed to sign all of those players because of restrictions with the 2021 salary cap and the revenue fallout from COVID-19. The NFL is still working out the details of how much teams can spend this year.
The Ravens would likely push to bring back at least two of those four players if possible.
Here's a look at those players.
Analysis: Judon played this past season with the franchise tag and there was no further movement on a long-term deal. Judon finished the regular season with 49 tackles, six sacks, and 21 quarterback hits.
Quote: “I would like to thank the Ravens organization," Judon said. "You all might ask me, but I don’t know what’s going to happen next year. I don’t know what’s going to happen in my future – that’s all out in front of me. But the past five years, man, it’s been a hell of a ride. I wouldn’t ask for another organization, or coaches, or mentors, or players to play with, man.
Outlook: Judon could be looking for a contract similar to former teammate Za'Darius Smith, who signed a four-year, $66 million deal with the Green Bay Packers as a free agent after leading the Ravens in sacks.
Potential Price Tag: $16 million to $17 million annually.
Analysis: The Ravens acquired Ngakoue from the Vikings at the trade deadline. Ngakoue finished the season with 11 tackles, three sacks and two quarterback hits.
Quote: "Yan’ did a great job. He brings it," coach John Harbaugh said. "He’s always a major threat rushing the passer. I think the key for those guys is to be able to play it all. That’s kind of how we’re built. So, rush the passer, set the edge, stop the run, play the crack-sweep, run to the ball, drop, understand the zone and the man drops."
Outlook: While there were some questions about that productivity, the Ravens coaches lauded Ngakoue's performance. He grew up in nearby Bowie, Md., and played collegiately at the University of Maryland. The Ravens could place the franchise tag on him.
Potential Asking Price: Between $16 million and $18 million annually.
Analysis: Bowser had his best season since being drafted by the Ravens in the second round (47th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft. He finished with 34 tackles, two sacks, 14 quarterback hits and was second on the team with three interceptions.
Quote: "He’s an outside ‘backer, pass-rusher first," Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale said. "The whole process of four years is coming to fruition right now. He’s always been good in coverage, and with the way we used him this year, he’s had the ball come to him right at the right time. And it’s not always on third down; it’s first and second down, as well. But it just talks to the value of Tyus Bowser and what he can do. To be able to rush the passer and also drop in coverage, that’s a talent, and we really appreciate it."
Outlook: Bowser might want to test the free-agent market for the first time. The Ravens would like to bring him back as a home-grown player, but they do have to invest more heavily on the offense.
Potential Asking Price: $3 million to $5 million annually.
Analysis: McPhee bounced back from a knee injury in 20019 and had a solid season, finishing with 34 tackle,s three sacks and 15 quarterback hits.
Quote: "Pernell, he set the edge," Harbaugh said. "He was a physical force out there. He was a dominating presence; setting the edge and then coming off blocks and making tackles off the edge. I thought Pernell had his best game of the year, along with a lot of other guys."
Outlook: McPhee turned 32 on Dec. 17, but he is still capable of making plays. He's also a vocal leader and mentor to some of the team's younger players.
Potential Asking Price: McPhee made $1.1 million last season and might be willing to return for that salary.