Arthur Jones

The Ravens appear resigned to the fact that defensive lineman Arthur Jones will cost too much in free agency for them to bring him back. (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun / November 3, 2013)

Veteran defensive tackle Arthur Jones is expected to emerge as a major commodity in free agency, where he'll command hefty contract offers that the Ravens won't attempt to compete with, according to sources.

The Ravens are extremely high on Jones and would try to keep him under normal circumstances, but they have many other pressing roster needs. Jones simply doesn't fit into the Ravens' budget.

He made a career-high 53 tackles last season and also had four sacks, making it clear early that it might be tough for the Ravens to keep him.

The Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots are among the teams that are considered logical potential landing spots for Jones. Former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano coaches the Colts, and Jones' younger brother Chandler plays for the Patriots.

Jones acknowledged the reality of the situation via social media Friday morning.

"It's crazy to think this maybe my very last happy purple Friday wishes," Jones wrote on his official Twitter account. "Hopefully not. But as we all know business is business.

When a fan joked with him about perhaps giving the Ravens a hometown discount, Jones replied: 'I think Michael Bennett said it best. this isn't Costcos this isn't Walmart. Hahah."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh discussed the possibility that Jones could be too expensive to retain during the NFL scouting combine.

"He has definitely put himself in a position that teams could definitely bid on him very high because if you put the tape on, they’re going to like him a lot," Harbaugh said. "He’s a football player. So how it pans out, what the numbers actually are, it remains to be seen, but he’s earned that. I’m always happy when guys have an opportunity on our team. As a coach, you feel a certain sense of reward when players accomplish that because it’s a big deal.

"It’s probably the one contract that he’ll have a chance to sign, a real big one. Guys that sign two big contracts, that’s very unusual. Three almost never happens, so you never feel bad about a guy getting an opportunity. You never want to lose a good player. But from a personal standpoint, you have to feel good about that. Whether we can match that or not, that’s all in the math.”

awilson@baltsun.com
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