The Ravens traded Anquan Boldin with the hopes of saving money to resign some of their defensive free agents. However, sometimes the money and the means just aren't there to get the job done. Dannell Ellerbe signed a contract with the Miami Dolphins in the first day of free agency receiving $35 million over five years. Quite frankly, for a half proven linebacker, Miami overpaid. But when you are a team looking for answers on the offensive and defensive spectrums, you must make moves and the Dolphins did. Now the question with the Ravens remains: draft a new linebacker or sign a veteran to take the spots of both Ellerbe and the retired Ray Lewis. When I say "take the place" I know no one can do that to Ray, but with the gaps at line backer and the limited names on the board, the Ravens may not have time to wait and see what the draft will offer.
Paul Kruger also landed a deal and unfortunately we will be seeing him twice a year minimum. Kruger landed a 5 year $40 million deal from the Cleveland Browns who continue to rebuild an uncertain team. Kruger offers a great pass rush leading all Ravens in hurry-ups by 15 (courtesy ESPN) and had 4.5 crucial sacks in the postseason. Kruger did nothing but perform in his 4 years as a Raven and broke out last season. Cleveland gains a great outside rush threat and Flacco will be seeing his former teammate gunning for him next year.
The Ravens saw Kruger leaving, but may have been surprised but the Ellerbe signing. Let's be honest, Ellerbe got a great deal that the Ravens just could and would not match. Now the swiss cheese like defense has two more holes added to it. The Ravens looked to plan on drafting in the secondary with Cary Williams most likely gone and Ed Reed a potential to leave. Shockey Brown and Jimmy Smith cannot be relied on and may not be in the long term plans, while Corey Graham filled a spot last season for injured Lardarius Webb.
With Webb and Pollard the only guarantees in the backfield, Ozzie Newsome knew he needed to draft at the FS/SS position, but now with linebacker and DT to fill, Newsome has some choices to make; either sign a veteran presence in the front of the defense or take draft picks away from the secondary. Newsome knows talent when he sees it and has already drafted several Hall of Famers throughout his time as Ravens GM. Now the question is...What is next?
Ravens sign DT Chris Canty to a 3 year deal worth $8 million. Canty spent the last 4 seasons with the New York Giants. Canty isn't the Ravens long term plan at DT but offers a presence to rush the QB. He finished last season with only 3 sacks in 9 games. Look for the Ravens to keep adding answers on defense, but no one of star quality just yet.