Unless you count
Fellow linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo is also a free agent and is expected to be back to Baltimore in 2012.
Still, there could be turnover at linebacker for the Ravens if Johnson and/or McClain sign elsewhere, and with Lewis gearing up for his 17th season. The Ravens are likely to add a linebacker during April’s
Williams, who had five sacks in five games as an outside linebacker in 2011, could be a game-changing talent as an outside linebacker in the 3-4. Other outside linebackers available on March 13 include
Here is a look at the top free agent linebackers on the market and where they could wind up in 2012.
1. Stephen Tulloch: After five seasons with the
Potential suitors: Detroit Lions,
2. London Fletcher: Fletcher, who turns 37 in May, had a career-high 166 tackles in 2011. He hasn't missed a game in his NFL career and has had at least 128 tackles in every season since 2002. Age is a concern, but you can probably plug him in for a year or two and get good production. The Redskins reportedly want him back.
3. Curtis Lofton: The Atlanta Falcons linebacker, who made 492 tackles and forced seven fumbles in his first four seasons in the NFL, is reportedly seeking a huge deal. He is said to be a liability in pass coverage, though.
Potential suitors: Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles,
4. Jameel McClain: The Ravens would like to keep McClain, but there is a chance another team -- maybe the Colts, now coached by former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano? -- will make an offer they can’t match.
Potential suitors: Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles.
Potential suitors: Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles.
Other notable free agents (2011 team in parenthesis):
1. Mario Williams: As I wrote in Tuesday’s defensive line primer, he is a better fit at defensive end. But teams with 3-4 defenses will also toss tons of cash at him, so let's throw him on this list, too. Might the Ravens be one of those teams? I would say it is highly unlikely, but it’s fun to think about the damage Williams and Terrell Suggs could do playing together.
2. Jarret Johnson: Like McClain, Johnson could be a target of the Colts.
Potential suitors: Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets.
3. Manny Lawson: Lawson, who spent his first five seasons with the
Potential suitors: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, Chicago Bears.
4. Erin Henderson: In his fourth season in the NFL, Henderson -- a former Terp -- became a starter for the first time. In 15 games (11 starts), he made 70 tackles and forced two fumbles for the Minnesota Vikings.
Potential suitors: Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles.
5. Leroy Hill: Hill, who has spent his entire career in Seattle, started all 16 games for the first time in his career in 2011. The 29-year-old had 89 tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble for the Seahawks.
Potential suitors: Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns.