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Preston: No reason to panic yet, Ravens fans. Now we get to see what Eric DeCosta can do

The phone calls, emails and texts are already pouring in because the Ravens have lost several of their starting unrestricted free agents on defense, but there’s no reason for any alarm.

The players the Ravens have lost so far this offseason were either too old or simply not good enough to merit multiyear, lucrative contracts.

Kicker Justin Tucker might be the team’s most recognizable player at this point, but I’m not worried about signing the high-priced free agents. The concern and bottom line in Baltimore is winning football games, and newly appointed general manager Eric DeCosta should be given ample time to build his own team.

Fans just need to be patient. If DeCosta doesn’t want to risk overpaying for free agents and instead wants to build through the draft, that’s his prerogative. People just need to sit back, chill and wait to see what happens before the panic, and gloom and doom set in.

Everyone knew the Ravens were going to release quarterback Joe Flacco, so that was no big deal when the team agreed to trade him to the Denver Broncos. According to reports, Ravens starting linebackers C.J. Mosley and Za’Darius Smith will make from $16 million to $17 million a year with their new teams, Mosley in New York with the Jets and Smith in Green Bay with the Packers.

OK, goodbye.

Mosley, 26, is good and has been the team’s best defensive player since joining the Ravens as a first-round draft pick in 2014, but there haven’t been a lot of plays where he wowed you. He didn’t have lot of tackles behind the line of scrimmage and was a liability in pass coverage.

Smith, 26, is laughing all the way to the bank for virtually 1½ good years in the four seasons he played in Baltimore. He had 5½ sacks his rookie season and 8½ last year. In the two other years, he combined for 4½ sacks.

If the Packers want to pay Smith that kind of money, go ahead. It’s fool’s gold. The same can be said of safety Eric Weddle who was cut by the Ravens last week and then signed with the Los Angeles Rams.

Another not-so-big deal for the Ravens.

As for outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, he reportedly is going to get paid $7 million for one season with the Arizona Cardinals. Maybe Suggs, 36, can put fannies in the seats for his new team, but the Ravens were smart to move on from him as well.

Through the past couple of seasons, the Ravens lacked playmakers on both sides of the ball but the defense usually played well enough to win. It was well designed and conceived by coordinators Dean Pees and Don “Wink” Martindale, with input from head coach John Harbaugh. I assume the 2019 version will be solid, too.

As for free agency, the Ravens usually aren’t active on the first day or during the first period of the open market. They scout around and try to find bargains.

When teams make big splashes the first day, they either are looking for a player that puts them in championship contention, or they make the stupid move that will put them in salary cap jail.

When the Ravens agreed to trade Flacco, they freed up some cap room, but it would be irresponsible of them to make a move just to make some fans happy. DeCosta, from what I hear, has been aggressive in free agency and in the draft, but he doesn’t need to be reckless.

Right now, time is on his side.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

twitter.com/MikePrestonSun

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