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Terrell Suggs plans on lining up in 2019, with or without the Ravens

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Terrell Suggs plans on lining up in 2019, with or without the Ravens

Terrell Suggs is entering the 2019 offseason with his future unknown.

The linebacker, who just wrapped up his 16th season in the league, completed his four-year, $20,700,000 contract and will become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year starts March 13. 

Drafted by the Ravens 10th overall in the 2003 NFL Draft, Suggs has become the leader of the No. 1 ranked defense while maintaining his level of performance. In 2018, the 36-year-old played in all 16 games totaling 25 tackles, seven sacks and one forced fumble.

But now general manager Eric DeCosta and the Ravens are faced with the question of whether or not to re-sign the physical and vocal leader of their defense. If it's up to Suggs, he'll be back in Baltimore.

"I would love to be a Raven for life," Suggs said after the team's Wild Card loss. "I’m healthy, and I still feel like I have some juice in the tank. I would love to be a Raven for life. We’ll have to see what happens. It’s a long time between here and March. So, we’re just going to enjoy it and hope we can work it out. If not, I’ll be lining up for somebody next year.”

In 16 seasons, Suggs has become the Ravens' all-time leader in sacks at 132.5 and is tied for 13th on the NFL's all-time sack list with Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor and Leslie O'Neal. He's an seven-time Pro Bowler, Defensive Player of the Year in 2011, a two-time All Pro and Super Bowl XLVII champion. 

It's natural to think that retiring as a Raven will be of importance to both him and the organization. The tricky part, however, is that Suggs is among 10 unrestricted free agents on the Ravens' roster and keeping the Ravens in a really good salary cap position in 2019 and going forward is one of DeCosta's top goals in his first year as GM.

Among those URFA's is 2014 first-round draft pick C.J. Mosley, who the team is expecting to re-sign, and OLB Za'Darius Smith. The Ravens could also free up cap space by cutting safety Eric Weddle and cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr. 

Without Suggs, the Ravens would be left with not only a gapping hole in a position that's been dominated for years, but without a veteran leader in a new era for the team. They of course could draft a defensive player at No. 22, like NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig has them doing, or there is free agency where Green Bay's Clay Matthews and Tennessee Titans' Derrick Morgan could be on the market.

At Suggs' age it'd be hard to expect a lucrative deal, but with or without the Ravens, he has no plan of stopping.

“It’s pretty much out of my hands," Suggs added. "Like I said, I would like to be a Raven for life. It might not happen that way. Unfortunately, we’ve had to see some Raven guys line up in other uniforms. I hope that’s not my case. If it is, so be it. I chose nothing. I’m a football player. I was born, and this is what I am. Like I said, I plan on lining up in 2019. So, hopefully it’s in the black and purple.”

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Ravens cut Justin Bethel, lose Pernell McPhee likely for season

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Ravens cut Justin Bethel, lose Pernell McPhee likely for season

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Just a day after a hard-fought win in Seattle, the Ravens have two roster spots to fill on defense.

The Ravens released special teams standout Justin Bethel on Monday, and coach John Harbaugh announced that Pernell McPhee is likely out for the season with a torn tricep.

Bethel was released after the Titans released Brent Urban last week.

The reason for Bethel's release was that Urban was due to give the Ravens a compensatory fourth-round pick. He signed a one-year deal in the offseason with the Titans as he left the Ravens. 

But Urban, who signed with Chicago on Monday, failed to impress in Tennessee and was released before the Week 10 compensatory deadline. Meaning, the Ravens would have lost the fourth-round pick they were scheduled to receive for John Brown's departure were it not for Bethel's release.

Bethel had six special teams tackles this season and was arguably the Ravens' best special teams player that doesn't snap or kick.

"Justin Bethel unfortunately had to be released due to a funky rule that the NFL has with these compensatory picks," Harbaugh said. "A judgement has to be made in terms of for the future as well. That's tough for us. I told him I think he's the best special teams player in the NFL, and he's playing that way."

Additionally, McPhee will likely be out for the season with a torn tricep. McPhee had three sacks and 19 total tackles in seven games for the Ravens this season.

"Pernell McPhee, it looks like he has a torn tricep," Harbaugh said. "If he has a torn tricep which I believe he does, that'll proclude the rest of the season." 

The Ravens have Aaron Adeoye, a rookie outside linebacker, on the practice squad should they wish to promote someone from within. Otherwise, they'll have to look through the free agent market or poach from another practice squad.

The NFL trade deadline is next Tuesday. 

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Watch the moment Lamar Jackson told John Harbaugh to go for it on fourth down

Watch the moment Lamar Jackson told John Harbaugh to go for it on fourth down

With the game tied late in the third quarter and the Ravens facing a fourth-and-2 from the Seattle eight-yard line, Baltimore had a decision to make.

Initially, the Ravens sent out kicker Justin Tucker to attempt a chip-shot field goal. But as quarterback Lamar Jackson trotted off the sidelines, head coach John Harbaugh had a question for him.

"Do you want to go for that?" the head coach asked his second-year quarterback.

Jackson didn't hesitate. He responded enthusiastically, telling Harbaugh, "Hell yeah, Coach. Let's go for it!"

He then turned to his teammates, asking them, "Do you want to go for it? Let's go!"

Baltimore called a timeout and dialed up a brilliant play-call on the decisive down. Lined up in a heavy, three tight end formation, Jackson took a direct snap eight yards, not just getting the first down but also finding the end zone to give the Ravens the lead.

The touchdown would put the Ravens ahead for good, as they left Seattle with an impressive, 30-16 road victory.

 At 5-2, Baltimore is sitting comfortably in first place in the AFC North, as they have a well-timed bye week before playing host to the undefeated Patriots in two weeks.

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