Ravens rumors: Division rival, AFC contender linked to Patrick Queen signing

The Ravens star could be on the move.

Baltimore Ravens v San Francisco 49ers
Baltimore Ravens v San Francisco 49ers / Robin Alam/ISI Photos/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens are heading into the offseason knowing they won't be able to retain all of their biggest free agents. Patrick Queen has performed valiantly during his four-year tenure in Baltimore, but the former first-round pick at linebacker seems like a player the Ravens will jettison.

While Queen could land with an upstart NFC team, including the linebacker-needy Eagles or a Seahawks team run by his former DC in Mike Macdonald, the latest buzz from the local beats could hint at Queen sticking it to the Ravens by joining some of their chief rivals in the AFC.

DJ Bien-Aime of ESPN noted that the Houston Texans could focus on Queen when he becomes available, focusing on the connection he has with former LSU teammate Derek Stingley Jr. If that doesn't work out, Queen might commit the ultimate betrayal and sign with Baltimore's biggest rival.

Mark Kaboly of The Athletic listed Queen as the "ultimate luxury signing" for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who could use a veteran linebacker in the middle of what is already a very solid defense. Queen seems unlikely to return to Baltimore, but joining one of these teams could be a genuine nightmare scenario.

Baltimore Ravens rumors: Texans, Steelers interested in LB Patrick Queen

After a very slow start to his NFL career, Queen exploded last year. Next to All-Pro Roquan Smith, Queen amassed 133 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and an interception while earning Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors. However, Baltimore's financial constraints make it tough to give him a big long-term deal.

Spotrac currently projects that Queen will earn an $18.5 million salary, with a five-year contract taking him over $92 million. That price tag is simply too expensive for Eric DeCosta. The Ravens have a ready-made replacement in Trenton Simpson, which makes it even more unlikely that Queen returns.

Queen may have been boosted by Macdonald's stellar defense last season, but the speed is still there and he has taken major steps forward as a tackler. He may be the best linebacker on the open market in a league that is slowly returning to placing more of an emphasis on that position.

The Texans need more stars on the defensive end, and Mike Tomlin never met a high-priced linebacker he didn't love. Both destinations could be viable teams for Queen, making him a player who could go from a valuable Ravens starter to a thorn in their side over the course of one offseason.