Ravens' position analysis: Defensive line

January, 28, 2014
Jan 28
4:30
PM ET
The Baltimore Ravens' team page continues to a take a position-by-position review of the team's 2013 season and give a sneak peek of what lies ahead:

DEFENSIVE LINE

Under contract (2014 salary-cap number): Haloti Ngata ($16 million), Chris Canty ($3.16M), Brandon Williams ($623,750), DeAngelo Tyson ($581,898), Kapron Lewis-Moore ($517,058), Cody Larsen ($420,000).

2014 free agents: Arthur Jones, Terrence Cody.

The good: Arthur Jones had a breakthrough season in his contract year and became the Ravens' top defensive lineman this season. With Haloti Ngata drawing double teams, Jones made the plays up front with 53 tackles and four sacks. Ngata finished the season strong with 18 tackles in his final three games. Chris Canty had a sack in two of his first three games and batted down a total of four passes. DeAngelo Tyson made an impact in a limited role with two sacks and his first career interception, which showed his athleticism.

The bad: This was the second straight season that Ngata wasn't the same playmaker as in previous seasons. His 1.5 sacks were his fewest since 2009. Canty didn't live up to expectations. He was limited to one or no tackles in five games. Marcus Spears was a free-agent bust who was released in the middle of the season.

The money: The situation with Jones in free agency may be similar to what the Ravens faced with Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe last year. Another team will likely offer a contract to Jones, a top 20 free agent this offseason, that the Ravens aren't going to be able to match. Jones could receive a contract that averages $5 million to $6 million per season. The other issue is Ngata's $16 million salary-cap number, which is the highest on the team. The Ravens will look to extend his contract to lower his cap hit.

Draft priority: Moderate. The Ravens have to figure out how they're going to replace Jones in the starting lineup if they're unable to re-sign him. They'll have to decide whether a prospect like Williams or Tyson is ready to start. If not, the Ravens will have to look elsewhere. This has become an aging group with both returning starters -- Ngata and Canty -- in their 30s.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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