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NFL year begins; Grubbs and Co. now free agents

3! 2! 1! Happy new league year! The 2012 NFL year is officially underway, and it all kicks off with free agency.

Before today’s 4 p.m. start of free agency, there were re-signings (Marques Colston is staying with the New Orleans Saints) and cuts (the Dallas Cowboys released Terrence Newman and David Buehler). And minutes after the ball dropped on the league year, the Miami Dolphins traded Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears.

All is quiet here, though. To our knowledge, the Ravens have not yet re-signed any of their 12 unrestricted free agents, a list that includes Pro Bowl guard Ben Grubbs and defensive starters Jarret Johnson, Jameel McClain and Cory Redding. The Ravens have expressed an interest in retaining those players in particular, but they have also been aware that those players might want to shop for better offers on the free agent market.  

Entering today, the Ravens weren’t optimistic about retaining Grubbs if he reached the market. There is chatter that Grubbs wants to get paid and all it takes is one team to blow Baltimore’s offer out of the water. Johnson, McClain and Redding should also garner interest, possibly from Chuck Pagano’s Indianapolis Colts.

This isn’t to say any one of those guys won’t return to the Ravens for the 2012 season, but signing them back just got tougher.

Here is the list of Baltimore’s unrestricted free agents:

--- Linebacker Brendon Ayanabadejo

--- Center Matt Birk

--- Left guard Ben Grubbs

--- Center Andre Gurode

--- Outside linebacker Jarret Johnson

--- Linebacker/tight end Edgar Jones

--- Inside linebacker Jameel McClain

--- Defensive tackle Brandon McKinney

--- Strong safety Haruki Nakamura

--- Defensive end Cory Redding

--- Tight end Kris Wilson

--- Free safety Tom Zbikowski

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