We probably should have had a little more faith in Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome.
After all, he is the mastermind behind two Super Bowl championships.
His Ravens have lost key personnel this offseason, but with a little help from fate, Newsome pounced on the opportunity to sign pass-rushing specialist Elvis Dumervil to a five-year contract worth up to $35 million.
Reports: #Dumervil deal is 5yr/26M base/35M max. 7.5 sign bonus, 3.5 inj guar in ‘14, so 12M total guar. ‘13 salary 1M guar (2.5M cap hit).— Chris Pika (@BlogAndTackle) March 24, 2013
With Baltimore breathing a collective sigh of relief, here's what the experts are saying about the deal.
ESPN's AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley wrote this about the signing:
Baltimore has suddenly gone from the Super Bowl team that lost five defensive starters to a defense that has one of the best pass-rush tandems in the league with Dumervil and Terrell Suggs. This is a vital signing for the Ravens, but don't think this was part of Baltimore's master plan this offseason.
What Dumervil provides is another quarterback-hitting threat. The Ravens haven't had this big of a one-two punch in terms of edge pass-rushers since 2003, when Suggs and Peter Boulware combined for 20.5 sacks.
He went on to write the following about how Dumervil may be used in 2013 and beyond:
Like the Ravens did with Kruger, they could use Courtney Upshaw on early downs and save Dumervil for passing situations, when he's at his best. Dumervil, 29, is a drive-stopper with 20 of his sacks over the past five years coming on third down, which is tied for seventh-most in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Hensley's analysis is astute, as Upshaw was graded by ProFootballFocus (subscription required) as the second-best run-stopping 3-4 outside linebacker in his rookie campaign.
Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated summed up the move:
Attrition staggered Baltimore’s defense to start the offseason, but it never flustered (Ozzie) 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.
While it seems impossible for the Ravens to improve their defense after so much subtraction, with Dumervil and a solid draft, a defensive upgrade is not entirely out of the question.
In a sub-heading titled "See? Never judge an offseason before, you know, the season", SI's Peter King wrote this:
In 2009, Dumervil, under new linebacker coach Wink Martindale in Denver, played outside linebacker and had his best season as a pro, winning the NFL sack title with 17.
Dumervil's sure to play outside 'backer in Baltimore. One of the linebacker coaches with the Ravens is Wink Martindale.
Coffee tastes a little better this morning, doesn't it, Raven Nation?
Look for Dumervil to assume a similar role under Martindale, and with Terrell Suggs on the other side of the formation, the former Denver Broncos stalwart could have similar success to that of 2009.
Baltimore Sun columnist Kevin Cowherd called the Dumveril addition a "heist" and threw in a movie reference:
What a heist Ozzie Newsome pulled off, something on the scale of "Ocean's 11," only without a casino involved.
Let's see, the Ravens get one of the best pass rushers in the league to replace Paul Kruger, who pulled off his own heist when he got the Cleveland Browns to pay him $40 million over five years.
Dumervil's better than Paul Kruger. He comes cheaper (five years, $35 million) than Kruger would have. And the Ravens take only a $2.5 million cap hit.
NFL.com's Chris Wesseling opined on what the Dumervil signing could precipitate for other teams in need of pass-rushing help:
Now that the Dumervil domino has tipped, the rest of the big-name pass rushers should fall in the short order. NFL Network's Michelle Beisner reported Sunday that the Broncos are "making a hard push" for Dwight Freeney. John Abraham also is in the mix, according to The Denver Post. Osi Umenyiora could beat them both to the dotted line by landing with the Atlanta Falcons.
Newsome has proven to be one of the NFL's most cunning GMs. He has been steadfast in his belief of not overpaying for players and is a master come draft time.
Signing Elvis Dumervil was his latest stroke of brilliance.