With the start of another new league year beginning at 4 P.M. this afternoon, there has already been a flurry of moves as the NFL’s free agency period is now underway.
Here at BSR, we’re keeping you up-to-date with the transactions of the day involving former members of the purple and black and new additions as well.
This article will be your guide through the Ravens moves and non-moves of the first day.
Kruger Inks Deal With Cleveland
The afternoon kicked off with Paul Kruger – the former pass-rushing outside linebacker for the Ravens – agreeing to a five year, $40.5 million dollar contract with the Cleveland Browns to beef up their pass rushing attack.
Kruger in his fourth year in the NFL, finally came into his own, recording twelve sacks (including in the playoffs) over the final 12 games of the season. But at over $8 million a season, there was no way the Ravens would be able to retain Kruger. According to NFL Network’s Albert Breer, the Ravens never even tendered a contract to Kruger which shows how much faith they have in second-year DE/OLB, Courtney Upshaw.
Kruger is the first big splash for the new front office of Cleveland but the Ravens are very confident in the abilities of Upshaw, who started over Kruger in the Super Bowl and recorded a forced fumble.
Dannell Ellerbe Signs With Dolphins
Ellerbe a priority for the Ravens to keep on the team, will receive $7 million a season from the Dolphins. Ellerbe started just seven games for Baltimore in 2012 and the Ravens feel they will be able to get nearly the same production at a cheaper cost for a guy who has had trouble staying healthy.
Ellerbe is a solid player, but the Ravens wanted him near 5/$30 million instead and Ellerbe couldn’t afford to turn down his first big pay day under the sunny skies of South Florida.
The Ravens now are without both middle linebackers after Ray Lewis‘ retirement and Ellerbe leaving. One name to keep aware of is Karlos Dansby, an ILB who is expected to be released by the Dolphins after the Ellerbe signing.
Dansby, 31, will enter his 10th season in the NFL in 2013 after spending the last three seasons in Miami and the previous six in Arizona. Dansby could be a solid contributor at a reduced rate, having only missed five games in the last six seasons.
Chris Canty Reaches Deal With Ravens
Ozzie Newsome has reached one deal thus far with a free agent, signing DT Chris Canty to a three-year, $8 million dollar contract as first reported by the Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson. The deal will give Canty $2.8 million guaranteed.
Canty, the former standout at the University of Virginia solidifies the Ravens defensive line that saw inconsistent play from both Terrence Cody and Ma’ake Kemoeatu. Canty helps the interior of the line, giving Haloti Ngata some much needed assistance. At 31, Canty can play at nose tackle, but is versatile enough to play on an end.
Injuries have plagued Canty however; he injured his knee last February and then sprained his MCL in December. But it appears Canty is fully healthy and ready to contribute.
Another solid, under-the-radar type signing by the Ravens as it appears Ozzie Newsome and the front office are just getting warmed up.
Matt Lund is a contributor for BaltimoreSportsReport.com and co-host of the BSR Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @MattCLund.