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Ravens News 3/13: Missing Suggs, defensive overhaul and more

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Baltimore Ravens vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers - September 10, 2006 Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Terrell Suggs’ departure brings shock, pain and new era to Ravens - Jamison Hensley

Terrell Suggs became a free agent for the first time in his 16-year NFL career, although no one really believed the seven-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker was going elsewhere.

Suggs idolized Ray Lewis and spoke often about how he wanted to join him as a “Raven for life.” He talked about how the Ravens’ DNA was in his blood.

So imagine the stunned faces when Suggs called members of the Ravens organization Monday to inform them that he was signing with another team.

“I am speechless,” a Ravens official said.

The Ravens will miss Eric Weddle’s leadership, and there will be a void if C.J. Mosley and Za’Darius Smith leave for big deals. But no one’s departure will be as painful this offseason as Suggs’.

Even though Suggs isn’t the same consistent menace to quarterbacks these days, his exit signals the end of an era. Only two defensive players in NFL history (Redskins cornerback Darrell Green and Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis) have been with one team longer, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Suggs left an indelible mark on the Ravens and is worthy of a place on the franchise’s Mt. Rushmore alongside first ballot Hall of Famers Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

NFL Free Agency 2019: Grading the Best and Worst Moves - Conor Orr

C.J. MOSLEY, LB

From: Baltimore Ravens

To: New York Jets

Contract: Five year, $85 million ($51 million guaranteed)

Breakdown: I suppose if you have the money, you should spend it. But if you’re entering year four of your time as a general manager and are spending $17 million on a non-pass rusher or cornerback who doesn’t even complete your defense, something else is probably broken. Mosley is a great player—the best inside linebacker available in free agency. He’s making $3.5 million more a year than Kwon Alexander, who re-set the inside linebacker market Monday and almost $5 million more per year than Luke Kuechly. The Jets will be paying Mosley this season what the Texans are paying J.J. Watt, the Browns are paying Olivier Vernon and what the Cardinals are paying Chandler Jones.

Grade: D+

Baltimore will host the Jets and their wealthy new inside linebacker next season.

After Free Agent Exodus, Ravens Staring At Defensive Overhaul - Bo Smolka

Mosley’s departure makes inside linebacker one of the Ravens’ most glaring areas of need. The only retuning inside linebackers from last year’s 53-man roster are Patrick Onwuasor and second-year players Kenny Young and Chris Board. The Ravens could look to free agency for a cheaper alternative to Mosley, and they could also look to the draft. Michigan’s Devin Bush has been linked to the Ravens as a possibility with the No. 22 overall pick.

As they have often done, the Ravens likely will look to value plays in later free agency, and that patience and bargain hunting has served them well over the years. But there are a lot of holes to fill right now on this AFC North champion roster, and the locker room -- especially those defensive meeting rooms -- will look much different next season.

Smolka may be overstating the need at inside linebacker. Patrick Onwuasor managed 5.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and an interception on 434 snaps last season. Kenny Young logged 369 snaps, recording 10 tackles in the Week 3 contest that C.J. Mosley missed and made a comparable number of impact plays as Mosley did throughout the season. And Anthony Levine chipped in 280 snaps, primarily serving as a dime linebacker.