1. Can Ravens work out a long-term deal with Joe Flacco?
It is THE question of the off-season because the answer determines how the rest of the Ravens roster shapes up for next season. A cap-friendly long term deal would be the most preferable but if the team is forced to use the Franchise tag you can expect some players to test free agency and perhaps others to be cut.
2. How do the Ravens replace Ray Lewis?
Replace may not be the correct word because how do you replace a player and personality the caliber of Ray Lewis? His leadership will most likely be replaced by committee and hopefully his production can be filled in by Dannell Ellerbee and Jameel McClain but Ellerbee is one of many who will be an unrestricted free agent next season.
3. Does Ed Reed return?
The vet Safety could be moving on after 11 seasons in Baltimore. Publicly he has said that he has more years left in him even though he has dealt with a variety of injuries over the past few seasons. The Ravens have expressed an interest in keeping the highly respected Reed in the fold, but at what cost?
4. Who else retires?
Lewis isn’t the only player who could ride off into the sunset from the Ravens. Center Matt Birk considered retirement last year and said after the Super Bowl that he’ll take a few weeks to make a decision about next year. Guard Bobbie Williams continued to struggle with injuries during 2012 and may also hang it up. Anquan Boldin also stated that if the Ravens cut him he would also choose to retire.
5. Can the Ravens keep Ellerbe, Kruger or Williams?
It seems likely that at least two of these three won’t be in a Ravens uniform next season. Ellerbee seems like the most likely candidate to stay due to Lewis’ absence and that inside linebackers may not cost as much as other positions.