Which Ravens free agents are most likely to return in 2014?

Daryl Smith is among the Ravens soon to be free agents this offseason. - Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

There are some decisions the Ravens will have to make with their upcoming free agents.

With the Ravens' 2013 season over, it's time to look at the ensuing offseason — which is beginning a lot sooner than this franchise is accustomed to.

With that in mind, the Ravens will have some decisions to make with their upcoming free agents.

It will be up to Baltimore to figure out which players mean more to the franchise while doing what they can to stay under the estimated salary cap of $126.3 million.

I'll go ahead add so and offer a percentage on which players I think are more likely to wear a Ravens jersey next season. Feel free to make your own list in the comments section below.

Eugene Monroe: 75%

CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora recently reported that the Ravens and Monroe are hopeful of working out a new contract for the former Jacksonville first-round pick. The Ravens traded for Monroe mid-season while the team was going through some tough times along the offensive line.

Bryant McKinnie began the year starting for Baltimore, though that fizzled quickly. McKinnie was subsequently traded to Miami shortly after Monroe was brought on board.

Monroe didn't have the best season with Baltimore, though the optimists will attribute that to what could be deemed a failed experiment with run-game coordinator Juan Castillo.

As of now, it would appear Monroe is in Baltimore's plans.

Daryl Smith: 60%

Smith was signed cheap, to a one-year, $1.125 million deal after a long tenure in Jacksonville. But his signing proved to be one of the best Baltimore made last year. You can easily make the case that Smith was Baltimore's best defensive player this season.

But that could cause his price to rise. At the same time, Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh aren't going to let a player that meant that much to the defense walk without making a concerted effort to keep him. Barring another team offering a lot of money for the 31-year-old linebacker, conventional wisdom would suggest the Ravens do enough to keep Smith in town.

Dennis Pitta: 55%

The Ravens' top tight end missed most of the 2013 season due to a fractured and dislocated hip sustained during training camp. Theoretically, that hurt the offense all year, though when he returned, Pitta wasn't much of a game-changer.

That said, he was a major part of the offense in 2012 and was stellar in the postseason run to win the Super Bowl. The Ravens will want to keep Pitta in the fold moving forward. But he could be someone other teams target in free agency. Pitta has excellent hands and can block and receive effectively.

It won't be cheap to keep Pitta in Baltimore. But being a close friend to Joe Flacco should certainly help matters.

James Ihedigbo: 50%

Ihedigbo had his best NFL season, recording 101 combined tackles, two fumble recoveries and three interceptions — all of which are season bests for the six-year veteran. And it's unlikely Ihedigbo, who played this season for $780,000, will receive so much attention that the Ravens would be unable to afford him.

Ihedigbo will likely have his suitors, though anything over $1 million per year would seem unlikely — at least at this point. If the Ravens can keep his price in that range, then it's possible Ihedigbo's back next year.

However, it would appear the long-term goal is to move Matt Elam to his more natural position of strong safety, which could play into the decision-making process, especially if the Ravens can either draft or sign a quality free safety.

Corey Graham: 40%

Graham could have a sense of loyalty to the Ravens as they gave him a chance to succeed at cornerback, after the Bears relegated him to special teams duty for five years.

But Graham's price tag could go up in what could be his final NFL contract. After seven seasons, Graham will hope for the biggest contract he can get. And he could probably get a better deal than the two-year, $3.7 million one Baltimore signed him to before last season.

Graham proved he's more than a special teams player in his two years with Baltimore. Keeping him around any longer could prove costly for a team that has to figure out how to remain under the cap.

Ed Dickson: 30%

After catching 54 passes for 528 yards and five touchdowns in 2011, Dickson has managed just 46 receptions for 498 yards and one touchdown over the past two years. Dickson's role as a receiver diminished this season, even with Pitta out due to injury.

When sizing up which free agents are more important to the team this offseason, Dickson would appear to rank low on the list. If the price is right and there isn't much of a demand elsewhere, perhaps Dickson returns. But for what the Ravens would likely offer, Dickson could probably find more money elsewhere.

In all fairness, linking back up with Eagles coach Chip Kelly, his collegiate coach at Oregon, could be a good starting point for Dickson.

Michael Oher: 15%

Oher arguably had his worst season as a Raven. According to Pro Football Focus, Oher allowed eight sacks this season, the most on the team, and had countless false start penalties.

With Baltimore's attention turned to re-signing Monroe, Oher appears to be someone the Ravens will let walk. In reality, there's no reason to pay more than the five-year, $13.795 million rookie deal, which is why Oher will likely wear a different team's jersey next season.


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