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Breaking down Ravens' free agent targets, moves

Baltimore RavensFootballDenver BroncosNFLNFL Pro BowlMichael Huff

The Ravens' pursuit of former Denver Broncos star pass rusher Elvis Dumervil could ultimately hit a road block.

His old team has made him an offer in an effort to regain a player they lost last week through a paperwork snafu involving a blown deadline that prompted Dumervil to fire his former agent, Marty Magid, and hire Tom Condon and Ben Dogra of megafirm CAA.

Condon, who also represents Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, is trying to smooth over the situation and get Dumervil back on the Broncos' roster.

Should the Ravens beat out the Broncos and wind up with Dumervil, NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell is of the opinion that the Pro Bowl defender would be effective in the Ravens' 3-4 scheme. Dumervil finished second on the Broncos last season with 11 sacks, ranking behind Pro Bowl outside linebacker Von Miller.

"I think Dumervil can still rush the quarterback," Cosell said. "I think Dumervil fits ideally what the Ravens want to do. In some ways, you can say he's a Paul Kruger type of player. He can play in the two-point stance or three-point stance. While he's not a purely dynamic pass rusher, and Kruger wasn't quite that guy either, Dumervil could fill that kind of role."

The Ravens have also had preliminary dialogue with the agent for former Pittsburgh Steelers star outside linebacker James Harrison, a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year who was cut as a salary-cap casualty prior to free agency and hasn't drawn much interest so far on the open market.

"He's a one-year guy," Cosell said. "He becomes a stop-gap. It's hard to say what he has left. It's a physical thing. You have to do the physicals. Even if he checks out, you're looking at a one-year deal."

The Ravens plan to meet with former Oakland Raiders safety Michael Huff within the next five days, according to league sources with knowledge of the situation.

"Michael Huff has played corner and safety," Cosell said. "I think he's a better safety in my opinion. I think the Ravens would sign him more likely to play safety than corner if that were to come to fruition."

The Ravens have maintained contact with veteran free safety Ed Reed, who visited the Houston Texans and has yet to agree to terms after balking at an initial offer of three years and roughly $12 million.

The Ravens have a tight salary-cap situation and are regarded as unwilling to pay anywhere close to the $6 million to $7 million annually that the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year is seeking. The Ravens, led by general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh, haven't closed the door on Reed potentially returning. 

Reed, 34, intercepted four passes last season.

"He's not what he was," Cosell said. "I think the Ravens will probably not push hard to get him.  I don't know if Ed is into the hometown discount, in any way. I think if he gets a better offer he'll go somewhere else."

The Ravens' biggest offseason move already happened: signing Super Bowl Most Valuable Player quarterback Joe Flacco to a $120.6 million contract that makes him the highest paid player in NFL history.

"I think what this season was about and ultimately the offseason moves validate that is the transition has been made," Cosell said. "It's an offensive football team. No one wins playoff games, 13-10, anymore. Those days are over. You have to score points. The quarterback is the most important person in that, and now they've got him."

The Ravens have signed a pair of defensive linemen, Chris Canty and Marcus Spears, adding Canty for a three-year, $8 million deal and Spears to a two-year deal with a maximum value of $3.55 million, including $800,000 worth of incentives. The Ravens' 20th-ranked run defense, which has lost linebackers Ray Lewis (retirement) and Dannell Ellerbe ($35 million free-agent deal with Miami Dolphins), needed bolstering.

"I think they Ravens are looking for quality bodies because I think their defense has been a little bit decimated," Cosell said. "So, I think like every team in free agency, because very rarely are there great, great players available, I think you're looking for guys who have had success and give you competition. And I think Spears and Canty fall into that category."

awilson@baltsun.com

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