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Beyond Flacco, many of the Ravens' top players are going to hit the open market. To be competitive again next season, the Ravens will have to pick and choose which players are most important and which can be let go.
In order of importance, these players must be re-signed:
Kruger was absolutely dynamic this season as a pass-rusher, racking up a total of 55 pressures, according to ProFootballFocus.com (subscription needed). No other Raven was even close to that number, making Kruger's performance that much more impressive.
Star pass-rushers are hard to come by. Letting one walk in free agency would be a terrible mistake, especially considering how much the Ravens' other edge rushers struggled in 2012.
The best inside linebacker this season for the Ravens was Dannell Ellerbe, and the continuity he would bring would really help this defense improve in 2013.
Ellerbe excelled in run defense and blitz situations, placing second on the team in tackles with 92 and tying for third in sacks with 4.5. His explosive downhill style really helped the Ravens when he was allowed to play more aggressively. Keeping Ellerbe around would ensure that the Ravens have a solid inside linebacker returning.
Dennis Pitta (RFA)
There is no way that the Ravens will re-sign Flacco to a big deal and not re-sign one of his best friends in Pitta. Flacco loves to look Pitta's way on third down, both down the field and in the flat.
Thankfully, Pitta is a restricted free agent, making him much easier to keep around. A long-term deal for Pitta, though, could be tough to hammer out.
Before the playoffs, I would have said that left tackle is the Ravens' biggest need. Little did any of us realize how well Bryant McKinnie would play in the playoffs. The Ravens need to re-sign him and make him the full-time starter at left tackle.
The main concern with McKinnie is his age, as he's 34 years old. He would be an excellent stop-gap starter, though, as the Ravens develop a young player to take his place.
There are some players who the Ravens will likely need to let go for salary cap reasons. These players should only be re-signed for a good deal:
For all the accolades Cary Williams received this season, he was still a largely mediocre cornerback. Williams gave up 67 receptions this season for 938 yards—both statistics ranking in the bottom-five in the NFL.
Williams isn't a terrible player, but he isn't worthy of the big contract he is likely to receive on the open market.
In an ideal world, Ed Reed would remain a Raven for the rest of his life. Sadly, it's not an ideal world, and Reed doesn't seem likely to fit into the Ravens' long-term plans.
Reed is deteriorating at a rapid pace, as he missed 14 tackles this season. Though he can still play, as evidenced by his four interceptions and usually sound coverage, Reed won't be worth the massive price tag he will command.