So the sky is officially falling in Baltimore(at least if Ravens fans reactions are anything to go by). In the past 36 hours the Ravens have lost a 33 year old WR who never had a 1000 yard season for them, a situational pass rusher who couldnt cut it as a full time starter(and never had a double digit sack season) and a former undrafted free agent who started 14 games in his career thus far.
Those are all over-simplifications, but do you get the point? these losses suck. especially when they are fan favorites like Boldin and Ellerbe, but this is life in the NFL. When you draft well and always have a loaded roster full of in house talent, you have to let some guys go. look at the Ravens top cap hits. Suggs, Ngata, Yanda, Flacco, Rice. All in house talent. This is what Baltimore does.
Every year Baltimore fans should just lock themselves in a padded soundproof room with no access to the outside world from the start of free agency till after the draft. That way we could do without the month and a half of bitching in between about how Ozzie has lost his touch and the Ravens are doomed. May I remind you that for the past 4 seasons, Sports illustrated has not picked the Ravens to make the playoffs once. ESPN has only picked them in 2 of the past 5. Yahoo is also 2 of 5. The Ravens have made the playoffs 5 of 5 and won a championship and picked up 3 AFC title game appearances on the way. Every year the Ravens are popular picks to have a down year because they “cant replace this guy” or “will miss that guy”. Some of the notable departures were Derrick Mason, Todd Heap, Kelly Gregg, Ben Grubbs, Bart Scott, Dawan Landry, Willis McGahee etc. None of those guys were really missed all that much.
So today, news came that Paul Kruger had signed with the Browns for 8 million per year(suggs only makes 10 per year), I didnt worry, or honestly care about it. If Kruger were worth that much, The Ravens would have him right now because they always find a way to pay their players. Kruger was a situational guy and there are about 5 guys in free agency that could fill that role easily with Upshaw as a full time starter.
A few hours later, Dannell Ellerbe signed with the Dolphins. i will admit, I was initially upset at this. And then I saw the numbers. 5 years 35 million is insane for a player with questions about his focus and health with 14 career starts. 7 million per year would be a crippling contract for the Ravens for a player that is good, but far from great. For reference, Ray Rice makes 8 million per year. Can anyone out there convince me that Ray Rice and Dannell Ellerbe are equivalent value players? I didnt think so.
Calm down Ravens fans. The Ravens management knows how to play this game. They re-signed some good guys today. David Reed, Morgan Cox and most significantly James Ihedigbo will be back. Were those guys as important as the guys that were lost? probably not, but the Ravens won a championship as a team, one unit. They didnt win because they had a handful of superstars, they won because they had a ton of stars and an incredible supporting cast. None of that has changed. By the time the draft is over, I have confidence that the Ravens will be among the best teams in the league once again. This is a tough day in Baltimore every year, but just like it has for the past 10 years of roster cuts and free agent losses, the sun is going to come back up in the morning.