Posted March 24, 2013

Elvis Dumervil signing another masterstroke by Ozzie Newsome

Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, NFL Free Agency
Ray Rice Elvis Dumervil

Ray Rice and Elvis Dumervil figure to enjoy each other’s company more now that Dumervil is headed to Baltimore. (Ric Tapia/AP)

Ozzie Newsome is generally regarded as one of the NFL’s top general managers. This offseason, on the heels of a Super Bowl victory, might wind up as the definitive proof why.

The defending champion Ravens traded Anquan Boldin, released Bernard Pollard and lost Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe, Ed Reed and Cary Williams to free agency, all following Ray Lewis’ retirement. That’s six defensive starters, and seven starters in all, removed from the Ravens’ postseason starting lineup. (An eighth, offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, is also an unrestricted free agent.)

Rather than sound the panic alarm, Newsome stayed the course. He added run-stuffing defensive ends Chris Canty and Marcus Spears to his team’s 3-4, then Sunday plucked Elvis Dumervil off the free-agent market — just days after Dumervil’s restructured deal with Denver fell through in comic fashion.

Baltimore handed Dumervil a five-year deal worth up to $35 million, still shy of the $8 million Dumervil would have earned had he been able to find a fax machine and get his reworked contract over to Denver prior to the Mar. 16 deadline. It is, however, more than Denver reportedly offered to Dumervil to come back: three years and $18 million with $8 million guaranteed, per the Denver Post‘s Mike Klis.

SI’s Peter King reported that Dumervil’s deal will cost the Ravens just $2.5 million against the cap in 2012 — a $1 million base salary plus the prorated portion of a $7.5 million signing bonus.

The Ravens still have substantial work to do in the secondary (paging Kerry Rhodes at safety), but the addition of Dumervil more than makes up for Kruger’s departure for Cleveland. Dumervil recorded 11 sacks last season and had a league-high 17 in 2009.

That mark came when Denver was in a 3-4 defense, as opposed to the 4-3 it currently plays. As mentioned above, the Ravens line up in the 3-4, meaning that Dumervil can slot right into Kruger’s vacated role as a stand-up outside linebacker.

A 3-4 setup also should help minimize Dumervil’s subpar play against the run — last season, he graded out as Denver’s third-worst run defender, per Pro Football Focus; Kruger finished next to last in that category for the Ravens, though his 15 sacks and relentless presence outside helped earn him a monster deal with the Browns.

Dumervil will pair with a now-healthy Terrell Suggs to give Baltimore arguably a better pass-rushing duo than it had in Suggs-Kruger. The signing will also allow the Ravens to continue easing youngster Courtney Upshaw along, as well, rather than force him into the starting lineup.

Attrition staggered Baltimore’s defense to start the offseason, but it never flustered Newsome. Now, with Dumervil in the fold, the Ravens have the potential to improve on that side of the ball in 2013, even with more than half the starting lineup suiting up elsewhere.

22 comments
sprayvac
sprayvac

@SportPage.  Calling it a masterstroke may be overstating it.  The Ravens were lucky that he became available and became pissed off enough that they could get him away from Denver.  But he's not a declining player, as some here suggest. He's 29, and a pretty strong compliment to ten-year veteran Terrell Suggs coming off the other edge.

 

If masterstroke goes too far, then your characterization of losing "9 key players" is completely off the deep end.

 

Four of the nine are in that 34/35 year-old range. Two retired in Lewis and Birk.  Funny that opposing fans have been calling Ray Lewis washed up for six years and then when he retires it's a "key loss."  Boldin and Ed Reed are the other two oldsters, and while they are nice to have, you can't become the Steelers and hold onto the old guys without getting younger players to move up.  Better to move them a year early than a year too late (the Ravens do this all the time. See Todd Heap, Jarrett Johnson of late).

 

Kruger was laughably overpaid by the Browns. $20 million guaranteed compared to what Dumerville--a far better player--got from the Ravens.   Six of Kruger's nine regular sacks (not 15 -- but he did have 4.5 in the playoffs) were against weaker rookie tackles.  He sat for 2/3 of the Super Bowl snaps. He's a decent pass rusher but a third-down part time player.   He averaged two sacks a year for his first three years with the Ravens.

 

Ellerbe would have been nice to keep and the one "key loss" the way I see it. But he too was way overpaid.  He has promise, but no where near the resume to merit the contract. He spent most of his Ravens career in the doghouse and only got the 14 starts because of injuries to Lewis and McClain, the intended starters.  If the Ravens had been knocked out of the playoffs in Denver, Ellerbe never sniffs that contract in Miami.

 

Pollard was cut because he was part of a very average defense -- he couldn't cover.

 

You're right that one addition doesn't remake a defense. But it needed to be remade and Dummerville is a pretty damn good start.

SportPage
SportPage

"Masterstroke?"

 

Yes, if you consider losing 9 key players and replacing them with one defensive end that can't stop the run and his pass rushing skills are clearly on the decline... 

 

If the goal is to struggle to make the playoffs, then it is a masterstroke indeed.

larry1952
larry1952

It cracks me up that these "impartial" writers praise certain teams and GM's irregardless of the moves they make. They are geniuses if they keep a player and they are geniuses if they let the same player go. Other teams can make fantastic moves to improve their clubs and get lambasted no matter what they do. That is why all of these "so-called" experts are nothing but shills with their own agendas.

don'tgetit
don'tgetit

What is Newsom paying this writer?  The writer should start shouldering work for Rex Ran, Jerry Jones. and, more recently, Owner Kraft.

NobleSasquatch2
NobleSasquatch2

Huff or Rhodes would be a great addition, but this team needs a left tackle really badly.  Oher is not the solution, though he's a very good RT, and there's nobody else on the roster that has proven they can play there either.  They need someone they can put there right away.  And forget McKinnie, now that Ray and Ed are gone, I don't trust Bryant as far as I can throw him.

MarkGately
MarkGately

For weeks we've been hearing about how incredibly stupid is the Ravens front office. The next time Ozzie Newsome makes a major stupid mistake, will be the first. The Ravens have been to the playoffs a remarkable 9 times since 2000. That just doesn't happen by accident.

 

Thank you Ozzie. Again.

 

edsopafan
edsopafan

TRUST IN OZ. Patience there is a plan. Yes this is a difficult road to fill the holes. But the Ravens had been getting long in the tooth and needed more speed and athleticism.

Look for the draft to concentrate on Safety and Linebackers. A wide receiver may be thrown in but defense is the key. My question is how to solve Left Offensive Tackle. But Ozzie has his plan. Sit back and watch the Wizard work.

GiovaniSmith
GiovaniSmith

Before we preemptively bestow a second SB trophy to the Ravens, it should be noted that the defense will have to play together as a unit. There doesn't seem to be much continuity between 2012 and 2013.

 

I'm not predicting that the Ravens won't succeed, I'm just reserving my opinion till these guys play together and prove that they're capable of functioning as a cohesive defense.

rodrigo726
rodrigo726

I want to add that Dumervil arrive doesnt just makes up for Kruger´s departure. He is a LOT better.

 

Kruger has 15.5 career sacks (4 years). Average of 3.8 per year. This was his first year with more than 5.5...

Dumervil has 63.5 (6 years). Average of 10.6 per year.

rodrigo726
rodrigo726

Kruger didnt had 15 sacks!!! He had 9! 2 less dan Dumervil.

 

Also, I dont know why everyone list Kruger and Ellerbe as starters for the Ravens.

 

Kruger start just 6 of the 20 games the Ravens played in the season (30%), and just 7 in his 4 year career (mora than 75 games)...

 

Ellerbe was a backup at the start of the season. The starters were Ray Lewis and Jameel McClain. Ellerbe only start when Ray or McClain were injured. He had zero starts when they were both healthy.

 

 

DavidHarte
DavidHarte

John Elway looks ridiculous tonight; Peyton Manning looks lost....

 

What was Elway thinking?

e23plumer
e23plumer

Ravens lost L Webb for the year and had Suggs and Ngata playing hurt all year. Look for M Huff to be signed and with 12 draft picks the Ravens D should actually improve from it's 20 ranking. Big need now is replacing Birk and Boldin

BrianButler
BrianButler

The Ravens also lost their fantastic center, Matt Birk. Just to clarify your article.

NobleSasquatch2
NobleSasquatch2

 @GiovaniSmith I'm actually on board with this.  I expect this defense to take some time to come together.  However as far as the position groups are concerned, Jameel McClain did a great job as the leader of the LBs while Ray was out the last two years, and Lardarius is a proven leader of the secondary group.  Suggs and Ngata (and now Canty) will provide veteran leadership on the d-line.  I think in the end, the youth and speed movement will win out and perform well by mid-season.

rjfisher72
rjfisher72

 @GiovaniSmith the Ravens D was mediocre last season, ranked 12th in points allowed. Also the last few offseasons they've had to change over starters. Jarret Johnson left after the 2011 and Kruger stepped in. Also Ray Lewis played only part of this season, so other guys stepped in. Also, CB Webb comes back from injury, so the number of new starters won't be as much as people think.

SportPage
SportPage

 @rodrigo726 Kruger wasn't a full time starter. Dumervil's average is skewed by the one fluke year he had 17 sacks, and in addition to being weak against the run, his sack totals are declining and he benefitted greatly from having Von Miller consistently double-teamed on the other side.

BryanCustard
BryanCustard

 @e23plumer yea, he was saying Kerry Rhodes, but Huff would be a better fit for what they need (a CF,  of a Free Safety to help in coverage), but if they can get both that would be a huge plus for the back end of that secondary.

SportPageisDumb
SportPageisDumb

 @SportPage  @rodrigo726  Yes, of course Dumervil's 17 sack year was a "fluke" in your mind. Of Kruger's sacks last year, only 1.5 came in the games WITHOUT Suggs. ALL THE REST of them, 9 or more, came with Suggs getting double teamed on the other side. You have no idea what you're talking about.

AdamBrooklyn
AdamBrooklyn

 @JordanSchatz  @BrianButler Who is the replacement? Gino Gradkowski? How do we know he's a beast? I mean, I hope he is, but when has he played?

 

In Ozzie we trust! (Ravens fans just have to sign off that way.)

BrianButler
BrianButler

 @JordanSchatz Great! I dont know much about him. I was just clarifying that the Ravens did indeed lose another starter.