Dumervil deal shows front-office savvy

Dumervil deal shows front-office savvy
March 24, 2013, 6:45 pm
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Brad Jackson talks about the Elvis Dumervil signing

This was all part of the plan.

Well, signing Elvis Dumervil, specifically, might not have been part of the plan. But when the Ravens decided Anquan Boldin needed to take a pay cut or be cut (he was ultimately traded), when they decided not to throw piles of money at Paul Kruger and instead let him walk, when the decided not to throw piles of money at Ed Reed and instead let him walk, they effectively put themselves in position to make at least one bold move in free agency.

They did just that on Sunday, agreeing to terms with Dumervil, the former Broncos pass rushing defensive end who became available thanks to a faulty fax machine in one of the more bizarre NFL transactions in recent history.

The Broncos, you might recall, wanted Dumervil to take a pay cut from $12 million to $8 million. Back and forth the Broncos and his agent went, but when the paperwork needed to be signed, sealed and delivered by the deadline, it wasn’t. The delay was attributed to a faulty fax machine, but the end result was the Broncos cut Dumervil rather than guarantee his $12 million salary.

He then hit the free agent market, and the Ravens immediately jumped into the fray.

The Ravens have been on a tightrope act with the salary cap this offseason. They handed Joe Flacco a whopping six-year, $120 million deal but structured it in such a way that it minimized the cap hit this season.

Then they made tough, and in some cases highly unpopular, decisions in losing Boldin, Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and, most recently, Reed, among others. Fans have walked to the edge of the cliff as they have seen the Ravens Super Bowl team, and particularly the defense, decimated by free agency and retirement this offseason.

The signing of Dumervil, 29, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, should move them a step back from the edge. Dumervil led the league in sacks in 2009 with 17 and had 11 this past season. He has 63.5 sacks in six NFL seasons.

Dumervil’s deal, reported to be five years and $35 million, includes a $7.5 million signing bonus and a $1 base salary this season. That translates to about a $2.5 million cap hit this season.

It’s worth noting that Kruger signed with the Browns for five years and $40 million, with $20 million guaranteed. Dumervil, two years older, is the far more accomplished player and ended up having a lower price tag.  

As with Flacco’s deal, there will probably need to be a restructuring, or some more hard decisions, down the road. But that’s for another day and another offseason. For now, the Ravens front office showed once again how to play the offseason game, and did so to score one of the premier pass rushers in the league.