Tag Archive | "Dannell Ellerbe"

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Ravens awarded four compensatory picks at Owner’s Meetings

Posted on 24 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Last year’s off-season after the Super Bowl was painful for Ravens fans, but now the team is being rewarded for its troubles and patience in free agency.

At the NFL Owner Meetings today in Orlando, the Baltimore Ravens learned more about their off-season approach in May as they received the league maximum number of compensatory picks possible for free agent losses.

The team received a third (99th overall),  two fourth-round (134th, 138 overall), and a fifth-round pick (175th overall).

The picks were rewarded for the losses of DE Paul Kruger (Cleveland), MLB Dannell Ellerbe (Miami), CB Cary Williams (Philadelphia), and FS Ed Reed (Houston) in free agency.

Because the Ravens did not sign any unrestricted free agents in the 2013 off-season, the team was not docked any picks from their total.

DE Elvis Dumervil, DL Chris Canty, DL Marcus Spears, S Michael Huff, and MLB Daryl Smith were all signed after teams cut them or late into training camp.

All-in-all, the Ravens will have eight picks as their disposal in May.

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Why the Ravens will survive offseason purge

Posted on 01 July 2013 by jeffreygilley

I just finished celebrating the Super Bowl victory when the Ravens began losing players. Some were to retirement while others were just released or traded. The losses include Carry Williams, Paul Kruger, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Bernard Pollard, Ma’ake Kemoeatu, and Dannell Ellerbe. At first, this was troubling but Ozzie Newsome had a plan and executed it to perfection.

Overwhelming, yes. But the Ravens are set up for long term success at the right price. That is something I have always admired about Ozzie Newsome. Newsome doesn’t get attached to players and approaches football from a business aspect at all times.

I guarantee you Newsome and the Ravens front office were laughing their you know whats off when players like Kruger and Ellerbe signed with other teams. Not to say Ellerbe and Kruger are bad players but they are not worth $75 million combined. Not to mention Ellerbe has struggled with injuries his entire career and Kruger had one good season.

Replacing Kruger and Ellerbe will be Arthur Brown and Elvis Dumervil. The Ravens also have replacements lined up for Williams, Pollard, and Kemoeatu. But notice how I didn’t mention replacements for Boldin, Lewis, or Reed. No one can replace those players.

Boldin is the only loss that truly concerns me. The roster is filled with young receivers with high ceilings and raw ability but that only takes you so far. Boldin brought intangibles to the offense that personified the Ravens playing style. He was also the guy Flacco looked for in clutch situations. None of the young receivers like Deonte Thompson, Tandon Doss, or Tommy Streeter can replace Boldin but maybe Dennis Pitta can.

Look for the Ravens to use Pitta in more of a slot receiver role in 2013. With Pitta in the slot, they can utilize Ed Dickson who is a dangerous weapon when given the chance. Versatile rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk could also line up across from Dickson as a second tight end.

In a way, while they have lost Boldin, the offense has a chance to be more versatile. Replacing Boldin with a wide range of young fast receivers to stretch the field which fits Flacco’s skill set.

Expect the Ravens to make the playoffs once again. The defense has improved and Flacco can carry this offense. In addition, I dont trust the Bengals to make much of an improvement and the Ravens have owned the Steelers lately.

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Will the Ravens defense improve in 2013?

Posted on 01 April 2013 by jeffreygilley

Four weeks ago, everyone outside of Baltimore was skeptical of Ozzie Newsome. First, Anquan Boldin was traded to the 49ers. Shortly after, Paul Kruger signed with the Browns and Dannell Ellerbe left for Miami. Ellerbe was viewed as the top priority for the Ravens but the Dolphins were willing to pay more for his services.

But that was just the beginning. Other key players including Carry Williams Ed Reed also joined other teams. Bernard Pollard is also no longer part of the team. Pollard was released and has since signed with the Tennessee Titans.

All of these players were critical to the Ravens regular and postseason success. Despite that, I believe the defense will be better. But then again, it’s not difficult to improve when the Ravens ranked in the high teens and low 20’s in most defensive categories.

Despite these losses, can the Ravens defense improve in 2013? The short answer is yes. The reason? Versatility.

All of the free agents the Ravens have signed this offseason have the ability to play multiple positions. Chris Canty and Marcus Spears can play almost every position on the defensive line and Michael Huff can play any position in the secondary.

The additions of Canty and Spears give the Ravens a scary rotation along the defensive line. Pernell McPhee and Arthur Jones will also be vital parts of that rotation. Even Deangelo Tyson could get playing time.

With Canty, Spears, McPhee, Tyson, and Jones in a rotation at the 3-4 defensive end and defensive tackle spots, Haloti Ngata can play more nose tackle, which is his favorite position.

Add Elvis Dumervil to that equation and I would be shocked if the Ravens don’t come close to leading the NFL in sacks. Dumervil and Suggs will consistently command attention on the outside. In turn, opportunities will open up for Ngata, McPhee, and the rest of the Ravens defensive lineman on the inside.

The only question mark for the Ravens defense to me is the secondary. With Carry Williams departure to Philadelphia and Lardarius Webb’s return from injury, Jimmy Smith and Corey Graham might have to play larger roles this season.

Inside linebacker could be viewed as another area of need but the additions to the defensive line should help the middle of the defense. The Ravens could also look to the draft for a young inside linebacker. Candidates would include Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, LSU linebacker Kevin Minter, or Florida linebacker Jon Bostic in the later rounds.

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Your Monday Reality Check: Can the “regression” talk regress now?

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Your Monday Reality Check: Can the “regression” talk regress now?

Posted on 25 March 2013 by Glenn Clark

Two of my absolute favorite people on the face of the planet are WNST.net’s own Luke Jones and Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole.

I really mean that. They’re not just two of my favorites in the business, they’re two of my favorites in the world. I love to talk shop with those guys, I love to chat about the world in general with them and I love getting the chance to spend time with them socially.

(This type of statement always leads to a “BUT….”, right? Not exactly this time.)

Both Jason and Luke joined me on “The Reality Check” during the first week of NFL free agency and separately brought up the same word, a specific word that has been repeated to me by a number of callers and e-mailers over the course of the last couple of weeks.

The word is “regression.” If you were playing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the moderator would tell you the word was of latin origin and could be defined as “a trend or shift toward a lower or less perfect state.” Perhaps the word could be used in a sentence along the lines of “After losing the players the Baltimore Ravens have lost thus far, we can expect regression from the team in 2013.”

That was essentially how both guys (and others) used the word over the last few weeks.

(You’re now CERTAIN there’s going to be a “BUT…” coming, aren’t you?)

I had to start every discussion about the term that I’ve had both on-air and off since the offseason began by accepting that Luke, Jason and everyone else who has suggested the Ravens are going to “regress” in 2013 are…well…probably right. I’m sorry. It had to be said.

They’re right because the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2012 and it will be very difficult for them to win the Super Bowl again in 2013. Any scenario that doesn’t involve the Ravens hoisting a third Vince Lombardi Trophy would technically mean they had “regressed” from where they were last season.

(Okay, now it’s time.)

BUT…I was never REALLY willing to accept the notion of “regression” for the Ravens at any point. Sunday’s signing of former Denver Broncos pass rusher Elvis Dumervil re-inforces that belief, but it absolutely did not establish it. I just hope the addition of Dumervil will force others to similarly push aside the notion of “regression” in 2013.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Ravens fans need to take a deep breath and trust in Ozzie

Posted on 14 March 2013 by BaltimoreSportsNut

It is amazing that just roughly six weeks after our beloved Baltimore Ravens hoisted their second Lombardi Trophy in 13 years and their fifth consecutive playoff appearance that Ravens fans have totally lost their mind.

This week has been comparable to the reaction I saw after Baltimore got crushed at home by the Denver Broncos towards the end of the season and fans were saying the Ravens wouldn’t win another game and that Ozzie Newsome cannot possibly give Flacco a contract that would make him the highest paid quarterback in history. Ravens fans have been so outraged these past few days with the trade of Anquan Boldin, the release of Bernard Pollard and their inability to retain Dannell Ellerbe.

First, there is no way Baltimore was, or could even afford to pay Ellerbe $35 million over five years, and honestly, he is not worth that kind of money.

Boldin was immediately rumored to be a salary cap casualty as soon as the Super Bowl was over, so we all knew, at least if you paid attention, that Boldin was likely not going to be back in Baltimore next season. Keep in mind, the Ravens did attempt to keep Anquan asking him to take a pay cut to stay, which has happened before in the world of the NFL, and some have taken that option, and others, like Boldin did, reject it because they do not want to play for less, which he had every right to do. I love Boldin, he played like a Raven, and is one of my favorite players, but the NFL is a business, and the financials did not support keeping Boldin at his $7.5 million cap number, and the Ravens did not feel he was worth that kind of money. It happens, remember Ben Grubs last year? Jarret Johnson? What happened? Our Ravens WON THE SUPER BOWL!

In regards to Bernard Pollard, this is not a power play by John Harbaugh, so if you think this is the case you need to get a clue and check out Drew’s blog this morning regarding it. Pollard was not only a disruption on the field sometimes with his constantly penalized hits (I will admit, that did not bother me, he played the game hard and did the Raven thing and intimidated the opponent), but Pollard’s locker room antics were the biggest disruption. Again check out Drew’s blog for the full details and read about his incident with Josh Bynes after the loss to the Washington Redskins. Next season, Pollard will be playing with his fourth team in the NFL in just eight seasons, there is a reason the Chiefs, Texans, and now the Ravens let him go. His teammates do not want him there.

Lastly, and most importantly, Ravens fans need to wake up and realize they have without a shout of a doubt, the best GM in the NFL. Ozzie Newsome has been our GM ever since we came to Baltimore and he has delivered two Super Bowls titles, four Division titles, and nine playoff appearances over 17 years. For you math estute readers, that is more playoff appearances than non playoff appearances, there are not many teams out there that can make that claim over the last 17 years. In fact, if you want to get even more technical, Baltimore has gone to the playoffs nine times in the last 13 seasons!! Newsome has also put together a full out defensive team that won the Super Bowl and a primarily offensive team that won the Super Bowl, thus proving he is not one dimensional in that regard as well. We praise Newsome for ten months of the year, but right around this time of year, all of the sudden Ravens fans either forget or ignore what Ozzie has done for this franchise.

I am not saying that I haven’t been surprised for some of the moves that have occured over the past week, but I sit back and always say to myself that “Ozzie must have a plan, like he always does.”

So please step back from the ledge Baltimore and join me in saying “In Ozzie we Trust!”

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Ravens lose top free-agent priority Ellerbe to Dolphins

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Ravens lose top free-agent priority Ellerbe to Dolphins

Posted on 12 March 2013 by Luke Jones

Roughly an hour after losing outside linebacker Paul Kruger on Tuesday, the Ravens sustained their biggest free-agent loss of the offseason with inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe reaching an agreement with the Miami Dolphins.

Deemed their top priority after quarterback Joe Flacco signed a six-year contract earlier this month, Ellerbe remained hopeful earlier in the day Tuesday that the sides would come to an agreement, but the 4 p.m. deadline passed without the Ravens inking the 27-year-old to a contract. According to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, the deal is worth $35 million over five years.

Ellerbe told WNST.net that the Ravens’ best offer was only $4.5 million per season and roughly half the guaranteed money the Dolphins awarded him.

Filling in for an injured Ray Lewis for a large portion of the season, Ellerbe made seven starts and played in 13 games, collecting 92 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks. The inside linebacker missed three games in early December due to an ankle injury but rebounded to serve as arguably the Ravens’ best defensive player en route to their Super Bowl XLVII win.

Originally an undrafted free agent out of Georgia in 2009, Ellerbe missed 10 games over the last two seasons as his durability has come into question throughout his career. The talented linebacker also found himself in coach John Harbaugh’s doghouse earlier in his career as his conditioning and commitment to football came into question.

However, Ellerbe appeared to have arrived in his fourth NFL season as he began the season playing in the nickel package before stepping into a starting role when Lewis sustained a torn right triceps on Oct. 14.

The loss of Ellerbe leaves a major void at inside linebacker as the Ravens are already facing life without the retiring Ray Lewis in the middle of the defense. The organization will hope for the best with Jameel McClain — who suffered a season-ending spinal cord contusion in December — while also looking to free agency and the draft to find an impact player at the position. Former practice-squad member Josh Bynes will also be counted on to fill a larger role within the defense.

After signing Ellerbe on Tuesday afternoon, the Dolphins released veteran inside linebacker Karlos Dansby, who could be a viable short-term option for the Ravens at a reasonable cost.

 WNST.net’s Ryan Chell contributed to this report.

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Stay or leave: Forecasting the Ravens’ 2013 class of free agents

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Stay or leave: Forecasting the Ravens’ 2013 class of free agents

Posted on 07 March 2013 by Luke Jones

With free agency set to begin at 4 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, it’s time to predict who remains and who departs among the Ravens’ 12 unrestricted free agents, six restricted free agents, and 10 exclusive-rights free agents.

The 2013 salary cap was officially set to $123 million last week and the Ravens have roughly $11 million in cap space after signing quarterback Joe Flacco to a six-year, $120.6 million contract. Most media attention focuses on unrestricted free agents, but the Ravens’ list of restricted free agents and exclusive-rights players will eat up a sizable portion of that remaining cap space.

Of course, the Ravens still have the option of cutting players under contract or potentially re-signing or restructuring the contracts of players already committed to the organization to create more cap space.

A new wrinkle to consider this year is the NFL allowing teams to enter into negotiations with the certified agents of players scheduled to be unrestricted free agents in the three days leading up to the start of the new league year (March 12 at 4 p.m.), meaning the rumors and speculation will pick up this weekend before the start of the signing period.

To see how I fared last year, check out my 2012 free-agent forecast HERE.

Unrestricted free agents

LB Dannell Ellerbe: STAYS
Skinny: The Ravens’ top priority among their unrestricted free agents, Ellerbe easily figures to trump the three-year, $10.5 million contract Baltimore awarded Jameel McClain in a deep inside linebacker market last offseason and will be looking for a deal worth at least $20 million. 

S Ed Reed: LEAVES
Skinny: If the future Hall of Fame safety is willing to take a modest two-year deal, he could have his chance to finish his career in Baltimore, but I’m guessing Reed will bolt for a more generous offer from another team looking for his services.

LB Paul Kruger: LEAVES
Skinny: With rumors of the situational pass rusher potentially fetching more than $8 million per season, the Ravens will turn to Courtney Upshaw for an increased role and move on from Kruger, who is not strong against the run and played in only 22 of 62 defensive snaps in Super Bowl XLVII.

CB Cary Williams: LEAVES
Skinny: With Lardarius Webb, Corey Graham, Jimmy Smith, and Chykie Brown all under contract, the Ravens will remember their depth at cornerback and allow Williams to seek a well-deserved payday somewhere else.

OT Bryant McKinnie: STAYS
Skinny: The Ravens will explore other options on the open market, but McKinnie should be an affordable stopgap as they’ll look to draft a left tackle of the future on the first or second day of April’s draft.

NT Ma’ake Kemoeatu: LEAVES
Skinny: The 34-year-old’s comeback was a nice story last year, but general manager Ozzie Newsome has made it a priority to upgrade the depth at defensive tackle, making Kemoeatu’s return unlikely at this point.

S James Ihedigbo: STAYS
Skinny: With Reed’s status in doubt, Ihedigbo is a nice depth player the Ravens would like to re-sign at the right price and he was a strong special-teams player last year as well.

DL Ryan McBean: STAYS
Skinny: The Ravens had high hopes for the former Denver Bronco last year before a season-ending ankle injury in the preseason opener, so it wouldn’t be out of the question for them to retain McBean’s services at a cheap rate.

S Sean Considine: LEAVES
Skinny: Though he was a solid special-teams contributor, the Ravens are likely to fill Considine’s spot with a younger, cheaper option.

TE Billy Bajema: LEAVES
Skinny: With Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson both scheduled to become unrestricted free agents next offseason, the Ravens should look to a younger option with some upside to fill their third tight end spot.

CB Chris Johnson: LEAVES
Skinny: The slew of injuries at the cornerback position midway through the season prompted the Ravens to sign the speedy veteran, but his services will no longer be needed.

LB Ricky Brown: LEAVES
Skinny: A preseason concussion landed the veteran on injured reserve, but Brown was little more than a camp body last summer.

Restricted free agents

(The Ravens can offer a first-round, second-round, or low tender to any of these players, giving them the right to match any offer sheet from an opposing team or to receive that team’s draft pick that matches the designation. The low tender awards a draft pick equal to the round in which the player was originally drafted. If the player originally went undrafted, it simply provides the team the right to match an offer sheet but awards no compensation for losing the player.)

TE Dennis Pitta: STAYS
Skinny: The Ravens may explore a multi-year extension for their talented tight end, but the second-round tender should be enough to keep Pitta in Baltimore for the 2013 season.

DL Arthur Jones: STAYS
Skinny: Jones started six games and really emerged in the second half of the season as an impact player along the defensive line, making him a likely candidate to receive a second-round tender.

TE Ed Dickson: STAYS
Skinny: Though his blocking skills are underrated, Dickson’s dwindling role as a receiver makes it likely that he’ll receive the low tender, meaning another team would have to fork over a third-round pick — the round in which he was drafted in 2010 — to sign him.

LS Morgan Cox: STAYS
Skinny: Happy with Cox’s services, the Ravens will either offer him the low tender or re-sign him to a lower salary than the $1.32 million attached to the tender.

OL Ramon Harewood: STAYS
Skinny: The 2010 sixth-round pick clearly fell out of favor after starting the first five games of the season at left guard, but the Ravens could look to sign Harewood at a lower rate after non-tendering him.

WR David Reed: LEAVES
Skinny: It’s possible the Ravens would re-sign Reed at a smaller salary, but they have several young wide receivers and Deonte Thompson can back up returner Jacoby Jones, which could prompt the 2010 fifth-round pick to seek an opportunity for more playing time elsewhere.

Exclusive-rights free agents

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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Difficult decisions still loom for Ravens after locking up Flacco

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Difficult decisions still loom for Ravens after locking up Flacco

Posted on 02 March 2013 by Luke Jones

General manager Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens front office had to wake up smiling the morning after reaching an agreement in principle with Joe Flacco on a six-year, $120.6 million contract that’s expected to be finalized Monday.

The move not only locks up the franchise quarterback for the long haul, but it’s also expected to provide short-term relief to a tight salary cap that would have had a difficult time absorbing a minimum of $14.9 million with the non-exclusive franchise tag. All the terms of the record-setting contract have yet to be released, but the 2013 cap number is just $7 million, according to CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora.

Estimated to have roughly $18 million in cap space before accounting for their quarterback or any of their unrestricted, restricted, or exclusive-rights free agents, the Ravens will now have some space to maneuver but not enough to change the entire landscape of their offseason. Moderation will be the key as Newsome will look to sign a couple of his own unrestricted free agents, make wise decisions on his seven restricted free agents, and then turn toward the open market to explore some shrewd signings.

Here’s a rundown of what to expect as the Ravens address their remaining free agents:

No tag this year

The first order of business will be the potential use of the franchise tag as teams have until Monday at 4 p.m. to designate a player if they so desire. Many have begun asking if Newsome and the Ravens will now use the tag on outside linebacker Paul Kruger or inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, but we received a preliminary answer to that query just a few days after the Super Bowl.

“If we get a deal done with Joe, we will not franchise another player,” said Newsome as he appealed to owner Steve Bisciotti with a humorous tone. “We will not do that. You are OK with that, right?”

The 2013 tag numbers released by the NFL on Friday suggest that stance isn’t changing as the Ravens would be looking at a $9.6 million cost at the linebacker position. As it relates to Kruger, the pass rusher could contest that he should be considered a defensive end, which commands an $11.175 million tag number for the 2013 season.

Those price tags are far too expensive for Kruger or Ellerbe as the Ravens would be looking at massive cuts to accommodate the franchise tag, regardless of what Flacco’s 2013 cap number ultimately is.

Cuts still coming

We’ve spent plenty of time discussing which veterans might be on the chopping block due to cap constraints and the Ravens will still pull the trigger on a few. It just won’t be the mass exodus that was feared if Flacco had received either of the franchise tag options.

Offensive lineman Bobbie Williams is the easiest decision as the Ravens will clear $1.2 million from their cap by releasing the 36-year-old lineman. Linebackers Brendon Ayanbadejo ($806,000 in savings) and Jameel McClain ($1.8 million saved) are also likely to go, with McClain becoming far more expendable if the Ravens can sign Dannell Ellerbe to a long-term deal before he hits the open market.

It would be an unpopular decision, but fullback Vonta Leach remains an intriguing option to release as it would save $3 million in cap space. Leach is tremendous at what he does as the best pure fullback in the NFL, but the Ravens are clearly moving toward a pass-heavy attack after committing the richest contract in league history to their quarterback.

The 31-year-old Leach took part in just 39.7 percent of the Ravens’ offensive snaps in the postseason, so can you justify devoting that big of a cap number to the fullback with other pressing needs at left tackle and all over the defense? Should they part ways with Leach, tight end Ed Dickson could serve in more of an H-back capacity and the Ravens could look to a younger, cheaper option coming out of college.

The Flacco contract means wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones are very likely to be safe, but the Ravens could explore reasonable contract extensions for both as they enter the final years of their respective contracts, thus lowering their cap numbers for 2013. This is especially true for Boldin, who carries a $7.5 million number for the upcoming season and proved himself worthy of a couple more years in Baltimore after an outstanding postseason.

Prioritizing unrestricted free agents

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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Clock ticking, exclusive tag price falling (a little) for Flacco and Ravens

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Clock ticking, exclusive tag price falling (a little) for Flacco and Ravens

Posted on 28 February 2013 by Luke Jones

As the clock ticks for the Ravens to strike a long-term agreement with quarterback Joe Flacco ahead of Monday’s deadline to use the franchise tag, there have been no indications that the sides have engaged in contract talks since the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Flacco’s agent Joe Linta and Ravens vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty entered contract discussions last weekend for the first time since last August, but there was no report of a deal being imminent. Of course, this doesn’t mean that progress hasn’t been made and it’s not surprising the sides are without an agreement as the March 4 deadline for designating a player with the franchise tag is now only days away.

Deadlines provide a greater sense of urgency to get deals done as we’ve seen in recent years when long-term agreements were struck with running back Ray Rice, linebacker Terrell Suggs, and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata with only hours — or even minutes — to spare in each case.

Linta has stood firm in his quest to make Flacco the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL and league insiders such as ESPN’s Adam Schefter have said a potential deal will exceed New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ five-year, $100 million contract that included $60 million guaranteed over the first three years of the deal. As has been said countless times since Super Bowl XLVII, you’d be hard-pressed to find a recent example of a player having this much leverage over a team strapped for salary-cap room and knowing they will need to fork over big bucks to a quarterback who just completed one of the greatest postseason performances in league history.

The question isn’t whether Flacco really deserves to make more than any other quarterback in football but rather do you want to keep him in Baltimore for the long haul.

The Ravens did receive some good news this week in terms of the exclusive franchise tag with New England quarterback Tom Brady and Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reworking their current deals to lower their cap figures for the 2013 season. While neither is expected to impact the long-term negotiations between Flacco and the Ravens, the lower cap numbers for both Brady and Roethlisberger have taken them out of the league’s top 5 quarterback cap listings, which are averaged to determine the tender amount for the exclusive franchise tag.

As a result, the exclusive tag has been lowered from just under $20.5 million to a reported $19.13 million, making the use of the pricier option that takes Flacco off the free-agent market completely a bit more appealing. The non-exclusive tag is expected to cost $14.6 million for a quarterback, but it would allow another team to sign Flacco to an offer sheet and potentially surrender two first-round picks to the Ravens if they were unable to match the deal.

The lower number might do more to entice the Ravens to use the exclusive tag, but it requires an extra $4.5 million of cap room that the team already doesn’t have. In deciding between using the non-exclusive tag and the exclusive one, it could be the difference between keeping wide receiver Anquan Boldin and needing to make the painful decision to release him to clear an additional $6 million in cap space. The exclusive number also creates a natural springboard for Linta to use for negotiating by reminding the Ravens they already view Flacco as a $19.13 million-per-year player at worst in using the exclusive tag.

However, the cheaper non-exclusive tag would also result in sleepless nights for general manager Ozzie Newsome over the thought — as highly unlikely as it might be — of a team with a dramatic cap surplus like the Cleveland Browns swooping in and signing Flacco to a front-loaded offer sheet with an absurd cap number for 2013 that would either prohibit the Ravens from matching or force them to cut even more players to match the offer.

Regardless of where you fall on the decision of which tag the Ravens should use — and opinions are split around the league — it’s apparent how urgent this situation is for the Ravens as they’ve engaged in virtually no discussion with other free agents because they don’t have a clear picture of what their salary-cap picture will be at this point. Baltimore has been in contact with the agent for inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe — considered the second-biggest priority among their unrestricted free agents — but even keeping him would be extremely difficult if Flacco is to carry either tag number.

Ellerbe, left tackle Bryant McKinnie, safety Ed Reed, and any other free agent — with the team or not — remain little more than an afterthought at this point in time.

We’ll begin to receive more clarity by 4 p.m. on Monday, the last day teams may designate a player with the franchise tag, but it won’t mean negotiations will automatically break off should the Ravens announce they are tagging their quarterback. The significant time for the Ravens and Flacco to have a long-term contract in place by falls on March 12 at 4 p.m. for the start of the new league year — and the opening of free agency — when teams must be in compliance with the salary cap.

But in those final days leading up to the start of free agency, the ax could fall on a few of Flacco’s teammates as the Ravens wouldn’t be able to assume a long-term deal will happen in time to quell their cap concerns.

The clock is ticking as the Ravens and Flacco approach the first tangible deadline of the offseason and their negotiations.

As I wrote right after the Super Bowl, the real question is when — not as much if or how — the deal gets done.

And the Ravens are in a holding pattern with the rest of their offseason until it does.

 

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I need you to sign this petition to keep Dannell Ellerbe in Baltimore

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I need you to sign this petition to keep Dannell Ellerbe in Baltimore

Posted on 27 February 2013 by Glenn Clark

Baltimore Ravens unrestricted free agent LB Dannell Ellerbe checked into my show “The Reality Check” Monday on AM1570 WNST.net. We talked about the contract talks between his agent and the team, his “challenge” that he could outrun Manti Te’o backwards (he was kidding) and how much he wanted to return to Charm City next season.

He had one request before I let him go.

“That’s how much I want to be in Baltimore. Tell everyone to start a petition!”

So we did. My producer Ryan Chell and I started a petition to ask the Baltimore Ravens to keep their former undrafted free agent LB right here in Charm City.

I want you to sign it, too. You can go right here to do that.

Since we’re here, I should definitely take a minute to tell you why I’m so particularly interested in seeing the former Georgia backer stick around.

I start by mentioning that Ellerbe is a damn good football player. But you already knew that from watching the games this season. Ellerbe has gone from undrafted and fighting to separate himself from other young linebackers like Tavares Gooden to becoming one of the NFL’s most consistent inside performers. When healthy in 2012, Ellerbe may well have been the team’s best defensive player, outperforming two future Hall of Famers and perennial Pro Bowlers like Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata.

Despite a number of injuries (which forced to miss all three games during the Ravens’ late season slide), Ellerbe returned to have a stellar postseason. He made what may well have been the game saving tackle on Frank Gore’s late run in Super Bowl XLVII, helping the Ravens finish off their second title.

You of course already knew all of that.

But there are other reasons I really want to see Dannell Ellerbe return.

I want to see him return because I’m inspired by a guy who fought to go from undrafted and scratching to get in on Special Teams to being a dependable high-level performer.

I want to see him return because he cares so much about the city of Baltimore and wants so badly to remain here.

I want to see him return because the Ravens are obviously losing Ray Lewis and will be in a very difficult place to lose their best inside linebacker as well. Behind Lewis and Ellerbe, the Ravens have just Jameel McClain coming back from a neck injury, Josh Bynes, Brendon Ayanbadejo and Albert McClellan at the position.

I want to see him return because I’ve been impressed by his maturation both on and off the field. He admitted to me begrudgingly earlier in the season that maturation has come even if he didn’t believe he needed it. Dannell has overcome a reputation of being someone who didn’t always care as much as he needed to in order to become a player that spends extra time watching film in the locker room.

I want to see him return because he’s always made himself available to us and hasn’t changed as he’s become more successful. He never hid at a time when he was hurt or at a time when he didn’t have a great game. Dannell has always been available to answer questions. He’s always said yes when we’ve asked him to come on the radio. He’s never dodged anything.

Dannell Ellerbe has been a picture of someone I want to have as a Raven. I really hope this will work out so that Dannell can return before or after the open of free agency in two weeks.

He wanted a petition and he’s absolutely worthy of one. Ravens fans signed petitions to fire Cam Cameron in droves. I’d like to hope that signing a petition to support one of the team’s better defensive players would be just as easy.

Let’s try again. Click right here to sign the petition. Then I want you to share it via your Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or whatever other social media sites you use. I want you to text and email it to your friends. I don’t want this to be about WNST, I want it to be Dannell. He’s already shared this himself via social media. He’s involved. He’d love to see the support as he enters free agency for the first time in his career. He deserves it.

Go sign the petition. Say thanks to Dannell. Let him know you want him back.

It’s what he told me he wanted.

-G

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