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Dannell Ellerbe reportedly in line for big Ravens offer

Baltimore linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is expected to be courted heavily when free agency kicks off, but he won't hit the open market if the Ravens have anything to do with it.

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Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun reported Friday the Ravens remain in talks with Ellerbe's camp and are expected to make the linebacker a significant offer before Tuesday's deadline.

Wilson noted that Ellerbe -- not pass rusher Paul Kruger -- is Baltimore's No. 1 priority, but re-signing him could be a chore. The Ravens stand to be priced out of the market when Ellerbe's agent begins fielding calls at midnight on Friday, when agreements can be made in principle. We have no real idea how frenzied this three-day negotiating period will be -- it's fair to expect madness.

Wilson tweeted later Friday that Ellerbe's agent doesn't expect a deal before midnight, telling The Sun, "Starting Saturday, we'll be talking to all 32 teams."

It's going to be interesting to see how general manager Ozzie Newsome navigates the rest of this offseason. The Ravens wasted little time sealing up Joe Flacco's record-setting deal, but not all of his teammates can be kept. Ellerbe and Kruger, in the afterglow of a Super Bowl win, are two players who stand to be wildly overpaid by teams desperate for help on defense.

The Ravens -- never a team that comes across as desperate -- will find a way to fill gaps if these players bolt. They always do.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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