Originally posted on Ravens Football Machine  |  Last updated 3/15/12

You knew it was going to happen... because Ozzie doesn't write a 4-year deal for a 31-year-old outside linebacker... it makes perfect sense for Ozzie to let Jarret Johnson go from a personnel management standpoint... but it is still a shock to see a great Ravens player sign with another team.

Welcome back to salary cap reality.....Teams were spoiled over the last few years not having to worry too much about cap space... now GM's have to really earn their checks when forecasting cap space for just not one year down the road but up to 3 or 4 years ...

Hence, Jarret Johnson no longer fit into the Ravens' fiscal plans...

Too bad. He was a real good outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme...

Johnson has agreed to a four-year deal with the San Diego Chargers, the Chargers announced Wednesday. The financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.

He is the second starter to leave via free agency, as defensive end Cory Redding reportedly agreed to a three-year deal with the Colts earlier in the day.

Johnson had spent his entire nine-year career with the Ravens since getting selected in the fourth round of the 2003 draft.

The Ravens had hoped to bring back Johnson, who has been a leader of the defense and in the locker room, holding franchise records with 80 consecutive starts and 129 consecutive games played.

“Jarret is a Raven,” General Manager Ozzie Newsome said at the combine last month. “He plays like a Raven. We’d love to have him back if things can work itself out.”

Johnson was a critical piece of the Ravens defense that ranked second-best in the NFL against the run. He played the on the opposite side of Terrell Suggs and finished last season with 56 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

Johnson’s departure leaves a hole on the defense that the Ravens could likely look to fill in the draft or in free agency. The most likely candidate on the roster to step into Johnson’s starting role is fourth-year linebacker Paul Kruger.

I like Kruger a lot.  I think he can step up. But it will be a tougher assignment due to the memories of Jarret Johnson's winning ways in Baltimore at that position.


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