Best: Elvis Dumervil, 5 years, $26 million, $8.5 million guaranteed
While the Ravens I think struggle a bit with the contracts that they offer to homegrown talent, they generally drive great bargains with players that come from outside the organization. The Dumervil situation was one of the more unique ones and the Ravens pounced on the opportunity, really signing a great contract with a terrific pass rusher.
Back in 2013 Dumervil was in a weird spot with the Denver Broncos who were looking to slash his pay down from $12 million despite the fact that he was still one of the most productive sack artists in the NFL. Dumervil actually agreed to a pay cut but his agent failed to get the paperwork to Denver in time so Denver released him. Dumervil was 29 so he still had a few years that should have been productive, but I’ve always said that teams view being cut as a black eye much moreso than contract expiration and Baltimore took advantage of that.
Baltimore more or less guaranteed Dumervil three years at $17 million, which is pretty cheap for a player that had 20.5 sacks in the prior two seasons. There was limited risk that Dumervil should decline that badly that would make this money and/or cap space poorly spent. Things worked out perfectly with 32 sacks in three seasons and two Pro Bowl appearances. As he makes the turn in age the Ravens will have plenty of options moving forward with his contract.
Dumervil is signed for two more seasons, through 2017. His cap number for the upcoming season is $7.4 million and will be $8.4 million in 2017, unless this contract is restructured or extended. These figures are quite reasonable for a player who produced 17 sacks in 2014.
Although Dumervil's sack total declined to six last season, the second lowest tally in his careers, a bounce back season is certainly viable. Dumervil admitted his body wore down last season as he was forced to play many more snaps than a situational pass rusher should after Terrell Suggs went down to injury in Week 1. Nearly 20% more snaps, an increase from 56% in 2014 to 75% in 2015 to be exact.
If the Ravens can rest Dumervil on running downs using some combination of Za'Darius Smith, Matt Judon and Kamalei Correa to set the edge, he will be fresh to harass the quarterback on passing downs. This would unlock Dumervil's pass rushing potential and provide maximum value on his contract.