Combine is huge for biggest names on NFL’s top-ranked defense

General manager Eric DeCosta estimated half of his week at the combine will be devoted to talking to agents, including those who represent middle linebacker C.J. Mosley, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, cornerback Jimmy Smith and safety Eric Weddle.

Mosley and Suggs are unrestricted free agents for the first time in their careers, and Smith and Weddle are potential salary-cap cuts. They have combined for 17 Pro Bowls in their careers, totaled 3,059 snaps last season and built reputations for being core leaders for a defense that became the second in team history to finish atop the league in fewest yards allowed.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“Historically, we’ve been a team that’s been built on defense,” DeCosta said. “We take pride in that. I think our fan base takes pride in that. We always want to be the strongest defense we can be, understanding that the salary cap does place parameters on us that aren’t always easy to work with, to keep all your best players. We live in a salary-cap age, so we’ve got to find the right combination of players that we can keep [and] the right combination of players that we can bring back.”

DeCosta expressed a desire to keep Mosley and Suggs. He was not as effusive when addressing Weddle and Smith.12

Mosley, 26, was the Ravens’ leading tackler last season and is Baltimore’s highest-profile free agent this offseason. He is one of two players to record at least 500 tackles, eight sacks and eight interceptions since he entered the NFL in 2014 (Carolina’s Luke Kuechly is the other).

“C.J. is a critical part of our team, a big part of our defense,” DeCosta said. “We hope that we can bring him back next week. We have expectations that we’ll have some progress this week.”

Suggs, 36, is one of the most accomplished pass-rushers in NFL history, ranking first among active players with 132.5 sacks and tying Lawrence Taylor and Leslie O’Neal for 13th all time. The big question is how much does Suggs have left. His 34 total tackles were his fewest in a full season since his 2003 rookie campaign, and he managed 1.5 sacks in his final 10 games last season (including the playoff loss to the Chargers).cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“I think ‘Sizz’ is definitely a guy we want back,” DeCosta said. “He’s a guy that means a lot to our franchise, as a player, but also as a leader. I would love to have him back next year.”