Unrestricted Free Agents
Six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk has said he's going to take some time to contemplate whether he wants to retire.
If Birk, 35, decides he wants to play again, the Ravens are open to having him back. This one might play out for a while as Birk makes up his mind.
Pro Bowl guard Ben Grubbs will be tough to retain, especially since the Ravens already made a $32 million investment in Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda last August that included a $10 million signing bonus.
Grubbs might be even more expensive, particularly if a bidding war ensues when free agency formally begins March 13 on the first day of the 2012 league year.
The Ravens traditionally hold onto successful first-round draft picks in the prime of their careers like Grubbs. However, this is reminiscent of when the Ravens let center Jason Brown walk to the St. Louis Rams because the price got too high.
Center-guard Andre Gurode represents a fallback plan for the Ravens at center if Birk retires. The five-time Pro Bowl selection played solidly in five starts at left guard when Grubbs was sidelined with a right turf toe injury, but was far from spectacular since he wasn't at his natural center position.
The Ravens could also opt to go young and draft a center-guard during the first four rounds of the NFL draft in April.
Veteran outside linebacker Jarret Johnson is a player the Ravens would ideally like to keep.
Johnson, 30, is one of the most durable players in franchise history, but fell to 56 tackles, 2 ½ sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery last season.
Because Johnson is one of the tougher, higher-character players on the team and there's no proven replacement on the roster, the Ravens and his agent may be able to work something out on a short-term deal. Both sides are sufficiently motivated.
"I want to retire as a Raven," Johnson said. "I hope to be a part of it, but business is just business. It's going to work itself out."
Special-teams ace and reserve inside linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo was the first free agent the team signed when John Harbaugh took over as the head coach four years ago.
Now, Ayanbadejo's contract has expired.
Ayanbadejo, 35, made only nine special-teams tackles last season while battling injuries. Most special-teams guys don't get new contracts at his age, but Ayanbadejo keeps himself in outstanding shape. Ayanbadejo is hopeful that he'll be back, but the Ravens could opt to get younger on special teams.
Starting inside linebacker Jameel McClain filled in capably when Lewis was hurt, finishing second on the team with 81 tackles to go with one sack, one interception and two fumble recoveries.
McClain has been wanting to sign a contract extension with the Ravens for the past few years, but no negotiations were ever launched. A former undrafted free agent who has developed each year, the kind of young, affordable, established player the Ravens could hold onto for a relatively modest price.
Defensive end Cory Redding has emerged as a leader in the locker room and on the field. He had 43 tackles, 4 ½ sacks and two pass deflections last season.
The Ravens have a judgment call to make here: stick with the reliable Redding or pass the torch to younger players like Pernell McPhee, Paul Kruger and Arthur Jones.
Reed isn't getting any younger and backup safeties Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura are both free agents.
Nakamura is valuable on special teams and has played well in spot action in the secondary. He could draw interest from other teams, but the Ravens would like to have him back at their price.
Zbikowski is expected to move on after losing his starting job to Pollard.
Re-signing blocking tight end Kris Wilson and reserve linebacker and special-teams contributor Edgar Jones are lower priorities for the team, but could come back for the veteran minimum.
Reserve defensive tackle Brandon McKinney had 14 tackles and one forced fumble last season.
The Ravens are unlikely to spend much if anything to hold onto him.