So far free agency hasn’t been kind to the Baltimore Ravens. After trading away Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday, the team lost linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger to the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns respectively with the start of free agency. In addition, the team released veteran safety Bernard Pollard in what appears to be another salary related move. These moves come on the heels of the organization losing Ray Lewis and Matt Birk to retirement earlier this offseason.
The exodus of the roster may not be over, however, as the team also has yet to reach a new contract with star safety Ed Reed. While the departures continue to add up, one name the team has been linked to as a possible replacement for the departed players is Ray Maualuga. Maualuga would fill a position of need with the Ravens by solidifying one of the inside linebacker positions that was previously held by Ellerbe. Maualuga is also young, at age 26, and could be the solution long-term in Baltimore if he were to sign. The contract terms may be an issue for both sides, but the market isn’t believed to be very aggressive for Maualuga so the team could get him at a relatively fair price.
Last season, Maualuga started in all 16 games for the Cincinnati Bengals and accumulated one sack and 62 tackles from his inside linebacker position. Maualuga’s familiarity within the division would also be a plus for the Ravens as they are aware of his skill set and how he stacks up against the remaining teams in the division.
The Ravens’ offseason has been characterized by massive departures, but fans shouldn’t overreact to the team’s unaggressive strategy thus far. The team has shown they are capable of replenishing their talent or departures through the draft. The organization has been the model of consistency over the past decade and always seems to find players to fit their scheme. While the pressure to contend and repeat as Super Bowl Champions may be daunting, the team is committed to their philosophy and will not make any hasty decisions that could jeopardize their franchise’s future.
The Ravens will still look to add pieces in free agency, but they will not overspend in acquiring talent. They will remain committed to their philosophy and it is hard to argue with their plan after their successful season last year. Look for the team to continue to address areas of need through free agency, but don’t be surprised if more players move on from the Ravens like a Reed or Pollard.
If the team makes a commitment to signing Maualuga, one of their most glaring needs will be filled. Maualuga could provide above-average production and veteran stability to a position of importance in the Ravens’ defense. If the team is committed to remaining relevant and competitive, this is a move they should strongly consider. The team, I’m sure, has a plan in place to address all their needs and sources seem to indicate that Maualuga may be part of that plan.