Free agents can test open market, including Reed

Free agents can test open market, including Reed
February 7, 2013, 12:15 pm
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When Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said he will not use the franchise tag on any player other than quarterback Joe Flacco, it also means a lot of key free agents will be testing the market.

"If we get a deal done with Joe we will not franchise another player," Newsome said. "We will not do that."

Cornerback Cary Williams, safety Ed Reed, linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger and left tackle Bryant McKinnie -- all starters in the Super Bowl -- are unrestricted free agents.

Flacco, who won the Super Bowl MVP in leading the Ravens to a 34-31 win vs. the San Francisco 49ers last weekend, is the top priority.

Williams rejected a three-year, $15 million deal before the 2012 season began. Kruger grew into a three-down player and led the Ravens with 9.5 sacks in the regular season. He had 4.5 in the postseason to lead the Ravens again.

Ellerbe was the most consistent player on a defense that struggled at times, playing through a bulging disk in his back in the AFC title game and the Super Bowl. He made what turned out to be the game-saving tackle, running sideline to sideline to take down Frank Gore at the 7-yard line with less than two minutes left. The 49ers failed to score on four plays afterward and the Ravens sealed their second championship in 13 years.

McKinnie, a starter in 2011, was benched for all 16 regular-season games. He started all four in the postseason because of a season- injury to Jah Reid, not allowing a sack of Flacco and not committing a penalty.