By PFC Blogger Ashley Rogers
No doubt the Super bowl XLVII Champs, the Baltimore Ravens have been the talk of not only the AFC, but the whole league with the loss of key players on both sides of the ball. Just 4 days into Free Agency and the Super Bowl team is breaking apart.
On Saturday March the 9th there had been a lot of buzz about the Ravens releasing veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin due to the fact that he wouldn’t take a pay cut. All rumors were quickly put to rest, but on Tuesday March the 12th, it was announced that the Ravens would be trading Boldin to the San Francisco 49’ers in exchange for a 6th round pick in the upcoming 2013 NFL draft. Boldin was due $6 million for the 2013-14 season, he was given an ultimatum, take the pay cut or be released. When asked why he didn’t take the pay cut he replied “It’s just the principle.” Boldin made a huge impact in the Raven’s run to the Super bowl.
There had been a lot of fuss as to why the Ravens settled for a 6th round pick for such a dynamite player with a huge clutch factor, but there had already been rumors around the league that the Ravens would release Boldin if he didn’t take the cut. Therefore, many teams would have most likely waited for him to be released. Causing the Ravens to, in essence, settle for the 6th round pick, it was that or nothing at all. Boldin finished both the regular season and the post season with 87 receptions, 1,031 yards, and 8 touchdowns, 4 of them in the offseason and 4 in the postseason. Anquan Boldin will surely be missed by the team, and most importantly the fans.
The Ravens also released Safety Bernard Pollard who tweeted that he was “done” in Baltimore. The 6’1, 225 pound Safety also known as “Patriot Killer’ due to the fact that he has injured key players on the Patriots roster such as Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker, and recently in the AFC Championship rematch, Stevan Ridley. Pollard was epitome of what we all knew as Baltimore Ravens defense hard: hitting, and yard stingy. He also was a tough player; he had played through the season with 6 broken ribs.
He had broken all six again in the Super Bowl, but that didn’t stop him. Pollard was the lead tackler for the 2012-13 season tallying up 98 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 interception, 6 pass deflections, and one forced fumble coming from that excruciating and concussion causing hit on Stevan Ridley.
Releasing Pollard only freed up $1 million in cap space, but many think that Baltimore Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome has something up his sleeve for this post-Super bowl team and what was once characterized as an old and deteriorating defense.
Other key losses of the Ravens this week were Line Backers Paul Kruger, and Dannell Ellerbe. Kruger only started 5 games but he was a very key player this season, stepping up to play while Line Backer Terrell Suggs couldn’t. Kruger finished the season with 56 total tackles, 13.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles of both which he recovered, and 1 interception.
On Tuesday night the Cleveland Browns announced that they had closed a 5 year deal with the Line Backer for $40 million. Another departure of the Ravens, Dannell Ellerbe signed a deal with the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday also racking up $35 million over the course of 5 years. Ellerbe came into the league an undrafted free agent in 2009 and now he is cashing in on the money he deserves, he finished the season with 124 total tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 1 interception. Ellerbe will be replacing free agent Karlos Dansby who was released from the team on Tuesday.
Will all of this going on within this franchise, it can leave a Ravens fan a little scared. But there is nothing to be worried about; the Ravens’ front office is ranked as one of the best in the league. And with someone as wise and knowledgeable as Ozzie Newsome leading the way, I wouldn’t be too nervous myself.