John Harbaugh with the Lombardi Trophy.
The Baltimore Ravens are coming off the franchise’s second Super Bowl victory with a rather busy offseason.
Several additions and subtractions were made, and although the Ravens may have lost a lot from its Super Bowl-winning roster, the additions and decisions made by General Manager Ozzie Newsome have improved Baltimore’s roster for the long haul.
Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe
Several of Baltimore’s key contributors in 2012 had expiring contracts and were expected to test the free-agent market in the offseason to find the team willing to pay them the most money. Instead of breaking the bank and re-signing players like Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe, the Ravens let them walk.
Kruger received a five-year, $40.5 million deal from the Cleveland Browns. Ellerbe signed with the Miami Dolphins for five years and $35 million. That’s a lot of cash for a couple of players who have a combined 21 career sacks. Texans defensive end J.J. Watt recorded 22 sacks by himself last season.
Newsome didn’t throw money at unproven players, and for that he was able to bring in other free agents for less money.
Michael Huff makes a play against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Ravens dished out a couple of three-year deals to two veteran players in an effort to bolster their championship defense.
Both players are 30 years old but still have a lot in their tanks, and Baltimore was able to sign them. Huff picked off two passes last season in Oakland, while Canty recorded three sacks last year in New York.
The Ravens also brought in 30-year-old defensive end Marcus Spears. Spears agreed to a two-year deal worth $3.55 million.
Altogether, Baltimore signed three veteran players on defense for almost half the price Miami is paying Ellerbe.
Ray Lewis retired after 17 years in the NFL.
Ray Lewis, 37, is no longer in Baltimore. Neither is Ed Reed, 34, Anquan Boldin, 32 or Matt Birk, 37. Get the picture yet?
The Ravens got younger as a team by simply cutting ties with aging players. Lewis and Birk both retired after illustrious careers, while Reed and Boldin will play next season on different teams. Their slowing bodies can now be another coach’s worry.
Baltimore will only get younger with eight picks in this year’s NFL draft, one of which was acquired during the Boldin trade with the 49ers. This league continues to get faster, and now the Ravens will be able to combat that with fresh legs plucked from the college ranks.
Dumervil tries to sack new teammate Joe Flacco.
Elvis Dumervil suffered a contractual fiasco with the Denver Broncos, and because of that, he’s now a member of the Baltimore Ravens. After Dumervil’s contract was terminated by the Broncos because of a fax machine incident, he agreed to a five-year, $35 million deal.
Dumervil is only 29 years old and has 225 tackles, 16 forced fumbles and 63.5 sacks during his eight-year NFL career.
He will give Baltimore an elite pass-rushing defensive end who will wreak havoc on the quarterback alongside all the other ball-hawking Ravens.
His landing in Baltimore is just another example of why Newsome is one of the most respected general managers in the NFL.
Flacco celebrates during Super Bowl XLVII.
Joe Flacco received a monster six-year, $120.6 million contract extension from the Ravens. He earned that money by playing his best football during the 2012 playoffs in Baltimore’s run toward the Super Bowl.
In the postseason alone, Flacco threw for 1,140 yards, 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions, with 287 yards and three scores coming in his Super Bowl MVP performance.
The Ravens locked up their quarterback after he proved he was capable of winning a championship. Now they have their guy for the long haul with a Super Bowl ring on his finger and a fat wallet in his back pocket.