Well the joy of winning Super Bowl XLVII didn’t last long in Baltimore. The National Football League’s free agency started at 4pm on Tuesday, shortly after all hell broke loose when the Baltimore Ravens lost two linebackers to free agency.
Fans were still reeling from Monday’s trade of wide receiver Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers when they learned that outside linebacker Paul Kruger was heading for AFC North rival Cleveland Browns. Kruger signed a five-year deal worth about $40 million, $20 million guaranteed.
The Ravens drafted Kruger in 2009; he was a second round pick from the University of Utah. He was one of their top free agents; in 2012 he had 9 sacks, 5.5 in 2011.
Then Ravens Nation was blindsided when linebacker Dannell Ellerbe agreed to a five-year, $35 million contract with the Miami Dolphins.
The 2009 undrafted free agent from Georgia stepped up when Ray Lewis was out last season with a torn triceps. The Ravens were expected to resign him.
The Ravens made a move and signed former Giants defensive linesman Chris Canty to a three-year deal for $8 million, $2.8 million guaranteed.
While many fans were ready to jump off of the Bay bridge, NFL analyst and former Ravens head coach Brian Billick made sense of what went down on the NFL Network. He addressed the motives behind the Ravens moves and said they learned from the lessons of the past and drew on the expertise of the organization.He added that the Ravens set a line of how much they would pay to chase good deals. In 2001 they over extended themselves on veteran players, then had to recoup their losses and learned that they couldn’t keep everyone.
Billick believes that Ellerbe crossed the line of how much the Ravens were willing to pay; they didn’t want to chase him. He said it is a buyer’s market and that Baltimore has its nucleus in quarterback Joe Flacco and will fill in around it.
Losing two linebackers in one day was upsetting, but fans need to trust the process. I knew Kruger would leave, but I was shocked about Ellerbe. I was miffed at first; then I calmed down. I trust Ozzie, he is rarely wrong when it comes to deciding who to keep and who to let go.
Part of winning a Super Bowl is the rebooting that happens the following season. The Ravens have their franchise quarterback Joe Flacco. The 2013 season just began; there is plenty of time for Ozzie to fill in the pieces.
Ravens Nation needs to calm down and stop sweating the loss of Kruger and Ellerbe; things have a way of working out…