It's now been nearly a week since free agency began, and as usual, a few big names went off the board right away -- Kelechi Osemele to the Raiders among them.
But the Ravens other major unrestricted free agent, linebacker Courtney Upshaw, remains unsigned in a market that appears to be no more than lukewarm about the edge-setting linebacker. Is there a chance that Upshaw might land back in Baltimore?
With five sacks in four seasons, Upshaw didn't figure to land a payday like premier sack-monster linebackers. But Upshaw has been durable -- he hasn't missed a game in his four-year NFL career -- and he's physical, with 51 tackles this past season.
There has been a lot of speculation that Upshaw might land in Indianapolis, since Ted Monachino, Upshaw's former linebackers coach with the Ravens, was hired this offseason as the Colts defensive coordinator. But it hasn't happened yet, and every day Upshaw goes unsigned would seem to increase his chances he returns to Baltimore.
With Terrell Suggs sidelined this season, Upshaw had a chance to step into a role as a pass rusher, but results were not impressive. It's pretty clear after four years that will never be his calling card, but he remains a solid edge-setter, a physical player in the mold the Ravens like.
General manager Ozzie Newsome was noncommittal about Upshaw when asked at the Combine, saying, "History will say we’ll get some signed and some will go to other clubs. When that happens, I wish them well.”
Still, with Upshaw sitting on the open market, Newsome's mantra of "right player, right price" might apply here.
The Ravens know they need to upgrade their pass rush, and they have been linked to some of the top edge rushers available in the draft. But they also like Upshaw's physical ability, and the way he sets the edge on run downs. If the Ravens can bring him back on a bargain deal in a soft market, it could be another fiscal coup for Newsome and the Ravens.
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