Comebackers?

The Baltimore Sun

Ray Lewis, starting linebacker: : The general feeling is that Lewis needs to test the free-agent waters to see how much the rest of the NFL wants him. But he might not like the results. Few teams are going to dole out a big contract to a 33-year-old linebacker. The Ravens, who covet his leadership and legacy, are probably going to put the best offer on the table. Chances of returning: 70 percent.

Jason Brown, starting center: : It's believed there is a gap in negotiations between Brown and the Ravens (he wants to be paid as a guard, and the team is offering him a contract in line with centers). In the end, Brown might be of more value to the Ravens. Last season, he dug in against top nose tackles but struggled in space against 4-3 defenses. Because the Ravens play two 3-4 defenses in the AFC North (the Pittsburgh Steelers' and Cleveland Browns'), they might want Brown more than others. Chances of returning: 65 percent.

Bart Scott, starting linebacker: : The New York Jets unloaded a couple of inside linebackers, which could mean they are creating room to go after Scott (the Jets would probably prefer Scott over Lewis after suffering through last season with an aging star). And while many have long projected Scott to be the odd man out in free agency, there is a sense in the organization that the Ravens want Scott more than the fans and media think. It could take some money, but the Ravens could make a solid run at Scott. Chances of returning: 55 percent.

Matt Stover, kicker: : It's basically understood that Stover warrants a $1 million contract for next season. The Ravens have to decide whether they want to give that money knowing they would have to carry a kickoff specialist, too. It was hard to read coach John Harbaugh's feelings toward Stover because they seemed to fluctuate throughout the season. Chances of returning: 50 percent.

Lorenzo Neal, fullback: : The Ravens could bring him back because his leadership proved invaluable to a growing offense. But he might not have a role if they improve at tight end (which would reduce the need for another fullback). Either way, the Ravens won't make a decision on Neal until after the draft. Chances of returning: 45 percent.

Jim Leonhard, safety and returner: : This is a difficult situation because the Ravens can't offer a starting job to Leonhard as other teams can. The Ravens bring back two-year starter Dawan Landry (who spent nearly all last season on injured reserve with a spinal cord concussion) along with impressive rookies Haruki Nakamura and Tom Zbikowski. The Browns could go after Leonhard because general manager George Kokinis (a former Ravens executive) loves overachievers. Chances of returning: 40 percent.

Daniel Wilcox, tight end: : Injuries have slowed him the past two seasons. He caught only five passes in 13 games last season, and the Ravens need more production out of their No. 2 tight end. Chances of returning: 25 percent.

Kyle Boller, quarterback: : The 2003 first-round pick failed to live up to expectations, but he never became a distraction last season when Joe Flacco became the franchise quarterback. Boller still has value as a backup in the NFL and could go somewhere like the Cowboys or Jets. The Ravens probably will go with the same two backups: Troy Smith and Todd Bouman. Chances of returning: 0 percent.

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