With the Ravens at 1-4 and injuries happening at just about every position, the Ravens famously need the "next man up." With pass rushers Terrell Suggs out for the year with an achilles tear and Elvis Dumervil getting dinged up on Sunday against the Browns, the next man up is Courtney Upshaw.
I wrote an article in the offseason saying the Ravens should have the upper hand in contract negotiations with Courtney Upshaw because he hasn't shown any signs of having a season where he breaks out and has a bunch of sacks. Now it looks like Upshaw will be lucky if the Ravens give him anything more than a one year contract at the veterans minimum.
Upshaw has consistently garnered negative grades from PFF this season and was ranked as one of the worst 3-4 linebackers playing in week five.. We know that he is better than this he's a second round pick drafted by the Ravens,who have been able to find successful players outside of the first round . He was never the guy who had seasons with 10+ sacks, that was the department of Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, but he helped make their jobs easier. Upshaw was the guy doing the dirty work, he was the one who was responsible for setting the edge and he was great at it. It didn't show up on the stat sheet, but it was evident to those who watched the film.
Courtney Upshaw is having a disaster of a season. It's having a negative effect on the Ravens defense and it's killing his appeal on the free agent market.
Yet, when the Ravens needed Upshaw to show a little of what he could do as a pass rusher or in coverage, we've seen him fail time and time again. With recent free agent superstars like Paul Kruger and Pernell McPhee, Upshaw looked like the guy that could have been the next in line for a decent sized contract either from Baltimore or from another team that could use a guy that can play all three downs as an outside linebacker. However, not adding pass rush skills to the mix and actually going backwards on his skillset will see him struggle if he has to hit the free agent market.