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The top free agent pass rushers still available for the Ravens

Ravens are back to searching for a pass rusher

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After the deal between the Baltimore Ravens and linebacker Za’Darius Smith fell through, the team is likely searching for another pass rusher to complement linebacker Odafe Oweh and Tyus Bowser. Here are five names that could be on their list.

Justin Houston

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Houston played for the Ravens during the 2021 season and took less money to play for them. He was offered more from the Pittsburgh Steelers but believed the Ravens were the team he wanted to join. Unfortunately, the injury-stricken year hampered his stats as the secondary eventually lost all starting cornerbacks save Tavon Young.

Houston did earn quite a strong pass rush grade from PFF in 2021, grading No. 21 among all EDGE players.

The Ravens may pursue “their own guy” but there haven’t been any reports of them speaking to Houston. Houston played 15 games for the Ravens and notched 4.5 sacks, which brought his career total to 102 sacks over his 13-year career.

Melvin Ingram

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Ingram joined the Steelers for the 2021 season, but eventually was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs after six games. Ingram has slowed down after sustaining a knee injury in the 2020 season, which was re-aggravated in Week 11 of the 2020 season. In 2021, Ingram totaled two sacks, and will be 33-years old at the start of the new year.

According to PFF, Ingram graded only one-tenth of a point than Houston in terms of pass rush, notching a 77.3 pass rush grade.

Jadeveon Clowney

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Clowney would be no stranger to the AFC North, after signing with the Cleveland Browns in 2021. Playing opposite of defensive end Myles Garrett, Clowney racked up nine sacks in 2020 in 14 games. Clowney would also be on his fourth team in four years after playing with the Houston Texans for the first five of his career. In that time, Clowney’s been boom-or-bust, where he produced three sacks for the Seattle Seahawks in 2019, before failing to sack the quarterback in his eight games played for the Tennessee Titans. He could be an interesting player for the Ravens.

Trey Flowers

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The former Detroit Lion could be a target for the Ravens after he was released yesterday.

Flowers was paid a hefty five-year, $90 million contract by the Lions back in 2019, but has been released after three seasons. In that time, Flowers earned $54.3 million of said contract, which could help the Ravens in the case of signing for a bit less to play for a contender.

Flowers is an interesting prospect as he never lived up to the deal he received in Detroit, but also the team struggled as a whole. Was it due to the environment, or did he outright struggle as the No. 1 guy? If the Ravens think he can help the team and come to the conclusion of wanting him, there could be talks of him as a possible contingency plan now that Smith is no longer joining the Ravens.

Derek Barnett

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One of the less-heralded players the Ravens could look at is linebacker Derek Barnett. With the majority of premium players off the board, the Ravens will certainly do their homework with Barnett, who has been a decent pass rusher. In 2021, Barnett had two sacks, but totaled 33 pressures, according to PFF. I wouldn’t expect Barnett to fetch a big deal on the market, let alone with the Ravens if they were to sign him. He’s not graded as a strong pass rusher, which is what the Ravens will be looking for.

Jason Pierre-Paul

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The last on our list is a peculiar option for the Ravens. Pierre-Paul has been a consistent pass rusher in the NFL for over a decade now. However, he slowed down a bit in 2021, accumulating only 2.5 sacks, seven fewer than his Pro Bowl 2020 season. According to PFF, this was his worst season, grading twenty points lower than last season, at 49.1 overall. His pass rush grade plummeted from a 71.4 to 53.2, too. If the Ravens want to land the veteran, they’ll have to consider whether or not this was just a lull season for the defender, or if his play has slowed as he turned 33-years old on January 1.