Pernell McPhee expected to hit free agency jackpot

Of the top 25 free agents available this offseason, pass rusher Pernell McPhee might be the most surprising name.

McPhee has started just six of 60 games since the Baltimore Ravens selected him in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, but emerged as one of the NFL's most effective per-play pass rushers last season.

Citing NFL sources, the Baltimore Sun expects McPhee to command an annual salary between $8 million and $10 million once he reaches the open market.

As was the case with Cory Redding, Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and Arthur Jones in previous years, the Ravens seem resigned to losing McPhee due to salary-cap limitations and league-wide demand.

McPhee's value goes beyond his No. 2 Pro Football Focus ranking among 3-4 outside linebackers last season. In addition to his 21 quarterback hits, McPhee boasts the size (6-foot-3, 280 pounds) and quickness to rush the passer from nose tackle, defensive end and linebacker.

It will be interesting to see if McPhee follows the Baltimore-to-Indianapolis pipeline established by Redding and Jones, reuniting with former Ravens coordinator Chuck Pagano.

Along with the Colts, Atlanta, Oakland and Cleveland have been mentioned as potential landing spots.

As is Ozzie Newsome's wont, the Ravens general manager will use the subsequent compensatory draft pick to develop McPhee's replacement.

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