Baltimore Ravens: Three of the Best and Two of the Worst Offseason Moves
The 2013 offseason has been a roller coaster for most Baltimore Ravens fans. It has seen some of its most popular players retire, traded or released.
Just when the Ravens were counted out, they added a variety of key players to keep them in the hunt for 2013.
Here's a look at some of the best and worst moves of their offseason.
Good Move: Signing Elvis Dumervil
Many Ravens fans may have lost all hope when the likes of Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe left for greener pastures.
Enter Elvis Dumervil, who has not left the building much since his signing.
Elvis Dumervil became a free agent after a bizarre chain of events involving a mishap with a fax machine.
What was one team's misfortune became another team's opportunity. The Ravens swooped in and signed the pass rusher to five year, $35 million contract.
When the Ravens signed the former Denver Bronco, they not only replaced the departed Paul Kruger, they arguably upgraded the position. Dumervil will team with Terrell Suggs to create one of the best pass rushing duos in the league.
Dumervil has been a constant presence in the Ravens facility and could become one of the leaders of the Ravens defense as well. With the departure of so many veterans, his performance on and off the field are equally important.
This is arguably the best signing of the Ravens this offseason. With an improved defensive line, Suggs and Dumervil can make quarterbacks more than a little nervous every Sunday.
Bad Move: Trading Anquan Boldin
Trading wide receiver Anquan Boldin will be a move that will be criticized until someone outside the organization is brought in or someone within the organization steps up.
It was a necessary move in the world of the salary cap. When Boldin refused to take a pay cut (and who can blame him?), the Ravens were left with little choice. None the less, losing Boldin could prove to be costly.
Boldin was Joe Flacco's most reliable receiver, especially in the postseason. He was a fierce competitor who made plays with a physicality that few can match.
Perhaps the biggest issue with his departure is that it appears that the Ravens have failed to replace him, if that is possible.
As of now, the Ravens are hoping that holdovers Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, David Reed, Tommy Streeter or seventh-round draft pick Aaron Mellette step up and contribute. It would not be a surprise if the Ozzie Newsome adds another wideout during training camp.
Good Move: Upgrading the Defensive Line
Last season the Baltimore Ravens were uncharacteristically bad at stopping the run, and the defensive line rarely seemed to penetrate the pocket. Terrence Cody's play was especially disappointing.
After the season ended, Ozzie Newsome made it known that upgrading the middle of the defense was a priority and backed up his words with the singing of veterans Chris Canty and Marcus Spears. He also drafted Brandon Williams in the third round, who many feel could possibly push Cody off of the roster and certainly out of the starting lineup.
As they say, football is won in the trenches. A much improved line helps the entire defense. It keeps blockers off of the linebackers which allows for better pressure on the quarterback. The added pressure from the front seven also makes the coverage better in the defensive backfield.
Bad Move: Rolando McClain
This move is only bad because it did not work out. The Ravens took a gamble and signed the often-troubled Rolando McClain in hopes that he would realize his potential.
McClain "retired" before ever stepping foot on the practice field.
McClain's departure leaves the Ravens inside linebacker position a little thin, especially with second round draft pick Arthur Brown's recent injury. You cannot blame Newsome for trying, but you have to wonder if a better move could have been made.
The linebacker free agent market is thin at best. Perhaps the return of Bart Scott, aka the Mad Backer, is in the cards.
Other Good Moves
The Ravens made far more good offseason moves than bad ones, which should not come as a surprise. The front office led by Ozzie Newsome always seems to have a plan.
They remained patient and re-signed left tackle Bryant McKinnie which keeps last year's offensive line mostly intact, minus the retired Matt Birk.
As usual, the Ravens had a superb draft by most accounts. They added instant starters in safety Matt Elam and inside linebacker Arthur Brown.
Overall, the Ravens offseason seems to have been successful. The defense seems to be reloaded and deep along the defensive line. They could still stand to make some additions to the receiver and inside linebacker corps, but there is still time remaining for those things to happen.