After an exodus of key defensive free agents, the Baltimore Ravens finally have some good news on the free agent front. The defending champs inked pass rusher extraordinaire Elivs Dumervil to a five-year deal worth $35 million.
Only $12 million is guaranteed, so there is some wiggle room for the Ravens should things not work out. Dumervil’s base salary for this season is only $1 million, and paired with a $7.5 million signing bonus, the cap hit for this season equates to a very doable $2.5 million.
Considering the loss of their top pass rusher Paul Kruger, the addition of Dumervil at a cheaper price is exactly what the Ravens needed. Dumervil is listed as a defensive end, but will likely start at outside linebacker opposite Terrell Suggs in the Ravens’ 3-4 defensive scheme.
The Ravens should send a thank you note and fruit basket to Dumervil’s former agent, Marty Magid, as Dumervil would still be a member of the Denver Broncos had Magid not botched Dumervil’s paperwork. The Broncos wanted to restructure Dumervil’s contract, and Dumervil was on board to take a pay cut, but his agent got his paperwork to the league office passed the deadline making Dumervil a free agent.
With that, Ozzie Newsome pounced on the freshly available Dumervil, who will be entering his eighth season. He was second on the Broncos last season with 11 sacks, and led the NFL with 17 sacks in 2009. Thus, on a team that lost plenty of game breakers on defense, the Dumervil signing brings positivity to an otherwise bleak offseason.
What the Dumervil signing also does is gives Newsome and the Ravens more flexibility when the draft rolls around in a couple of weeks. After losing Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and Ray Lewis, the Ravens had a huge hole at linebacker, but the signing of Dumervil helps fill that void.
Now the Ravens can focus on other gaping holes in the lineup like wide receiver, cornerback and safety. So not only does the Dumervil signing come at a cheaper price than the deal the Cleveland Browns gave Kruger, it also frees up a draft pick for the Ravens to address other needs.
Throw in Haloti Ngata and Arthur Jones up front blocking for Dumervil, Suggs and Courtney Upshaw and the Ravens’ front seven looks much better than it did just a few days ago.
The secondary is still a work in progress, with Lardarius Webb coming off ACL surgery and a combination of Corey Graham and Jimmy Smith replacing the departed Cary Williams. The Ravens did re-sign James Ihedigbo at safety, but the losses of Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard will no doubt make the secondary a less potent unit.
Thus, with some uncertainty remaining on the defensive side, the Dumervil signing was huge both on paper as well as for the morale of a defense that has been pilfered over the last couple of weeks. The doom and gloom since the loss of Reed can now be lifted as the Ravens prepare for the draft.
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