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Will Elvis Dumervil get his 100th career sack with Ravens, or someone else?

Will Elvis Dumervil get his 100th career sack with Ravens, or someone else?

The Ravens face critical offseason personnel decisions, including which players to bring back, and which veteran players are no longer worth the financial investment.

Here are the pros and cons regarding pass rusher Elvis Dumervil:

Reasons to keep Dumervil:

Dumervil is a proven pass rusher with 99 career sacks, and he will be highly motivated wherever he plays next season. He turns 33 years old Thursday (Jan. 19), and wants to show he has plenty left in the tank. I asked Dumervil after the season-ending game in Cincinnati whether he thought he would return to the Ravens.

“Wherever I play next season, I’ll be a beast,” Dumervil said.

Dumervil had 17 sacks in 2014, and the Ravens need pass rushers. He was never fully healthy in 2016, missing eight games after Achilles surgery.  If the Ravens release Dumervil, there’s a chance he could have a big season playing for someone else.

Reasons to release Dumervil:

The Ravens would save more than $6 million in salary cap space by cutting ties with Dumervil. There’s no guarantee Dumervil will stay healthy, or be a double-digit sack artist again. The money the Ravens could save by releasing Dumervil could be used to fill holes elsewhere.

Prediction:

My gut feeling is that Dumervil and the Ravens will part ways. Terrell Suggs is returning, and he led the Ravens with eight sacks in 2016 playing with a torn biceps. Matt Judon had four sacks as a rookie. The biggest disappointment in the pass rushing department was Za’Darius Smith, who had just one sack. However, even with Dumervil getting just three sacks in 2015, the Ravens won eight games, and had the league’s seventh-ranked defense. I think the Ravens will use the money they would pay Dumervil to address issues like finding another cover corner and an offensive playmaker.  

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5 players Ravens fans should keep an eye on at the NFL Combine

5 players Ravens fans should keep an eye on at the NFL Combine

For a team that finished 14-2 in 2019, the Ravens have quite a few holes to patch up across the roster. 

The team needs an edge rusher — a situation that could be exacerbated by a potential departure of Matthew Judon — and help at inside linebacker, interior offensive line and wide receiver.

Baltimore isn’t flush with cap space, especially if Judon is retained by either a contract extension or franchise tag. Meaning, they’ll have to capitalize on their draft picks, of which they have six — with compensatory picks still to be announced. 

The combine schedule will have tight ends, quarterbacks and wide receivers workout on Thursday, special teamers, offensive line and running backs on Friday, defensive line and linebackers on Saturday and defensive backs on Sunday. 

Here are a few players who the Ravens could take a look at near the top of the draft:

Patrick Queen, LB, LSU

This is the linebacker that the Ravens might have to make a move to acquire. 

Patrick Queen, an off-ball linebacker from LSU, is listed at 6-foot-1 and 227 pounds. He made 85 total tackles in his junior season as a Tiger and had one interception, too. 

“Patrick Queen to me would be a home run pick from LSU if somehow he was there,” NFL Network analyst Jeremiah said in a conference call last week. “I think he should be gone by then. He's so athletic and explosive.”

Should Queen be on the board, the Ravens could have themselves a three-down linebacker capable of dropping into coverage or finding a ball-carrier behind the line of scrimmage. 

If Queen is on the board when the Ravens pick, even if there’s a hole at edge rusher, there will be a difficult decision to make for the Ravens.

Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

Perhaps the most popular selection in early mock drafts, Kenneth Murray could deliver the most realistic chance the Ravens have at getting an impact off-ball linebacker in the first round. 

Murray registered 102 tackles in his junior year, down from his 155 tackles he posted as a sophomore. He’s an excellent open-field tackler, one that can fill a hole in the Ravens front seven on day one. 

The former Oklahoma Sooner would fill a spot that linebacker C.J. Mosely left vacant after he went to the Jets in the spring of 2019. 

Zack Baun, EDGE, Wisconsin

Here, the Ravens could be almost forced to take an edge player. Enter Zack Baun.

Baun, an edge rusher at Wisconsin, was a disruptive force on the outside for the Badgers in perhaps college football’s toughest conference. 

In his final year in Madison, he made 76 total tackles and had 12.5 sacks — second in the Big 10 behind only Chase Young.

“Zack Baun from Wisconsin can give you versatility as somebody who can rush...then cover,” Jeremiah said. “When you talk about pure edge guys, you know they've (the Ravens) tended to lean more towards the physical rushers.”

The ceiling for Baun isn’t what Young’s ceiling is, but Baun — while a bit light at just 238 pounds — has the makings of a productive player at the NFL level.

Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado

Now, it’s time for some fun.

The Ravens had the NFL’s best and most explosive offense in 2019, led by MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown and Mark Ingram. While it might not make sense, on paper, to overlook other more prominent needs on the roster, another top wideout for Jackson is certainly on the needs list.

“Shenault would be a heck of a lot of fun,” Jeremiah continued. “I put down this list of guys in this draft, and I just wrote "Finding (49ers wide receiver) Deebo (Samuel)." 

Shenault, listed at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, compares physically to Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. At Colorado, Shenault caught 56 balls and totaled 764 yards for four touchdowns in 2019. A year prior, he eclipsed 1,000 yards through the air and had 86 catches and six touchdowns.

The way the Buffaloes used him, though, could play favorably to what the Ravens would like to do in the backfield. And with his big frame, he’s able to be versatile in any offense.

“I would go back, get more speed and just continue to add more speed like the Chiefs have done,” Jeremiah said. “I would double down. And I think Shenault would be a fun toy for them, somebody that could play in the slot. You can use the fly sweep stuff with him. You could put him in the backfield with Lamar hand him the ball. He's done that a bunch at Colorado, for a creative offense, there's none more creative than Greg Roman.”

Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

This one might seem like it’s out of left field, but Jalen Reagor is a wide receiver to watch at the combine. 

A speed demon at TCU, Reagor totaled just 611 yards in his final year of college, down from the 1,061 yards he posted a year prior. In that way, Shenault and Reagor are similar players. 

“So finding somebody with maybe some physicality to go along with their speed to complement Hollywood Brown in this offense, it would be fun to watch,” Jeremiah said, speaking generally of the Ravens’ offense.

Reagor, who called himself a mix of Tyreek Hill and Deebo Samuel at the combine this week, could run the fastest 40-yard dash in Indianapolis — even faster than former Alabama wideout Henry Ruggs. And Reagor, who weighed in at 206 pounds, was used in a way that could benefit the Ravens as well. 

TCU used him in a variety of ways: as a receiver, in the backfield and as a returner. Reagor could fill multiple roles, so don’t be surprised if the Ravens target the athletic wideout — even if it’s not in the first round of such a deep wide receiver class.

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Robert Griffin III calls for players to 'take a stand' and vote against CBA proposal

Robert Griffin III calls for players to 'take a stand' and vote against CBA proposal

The NFL Players Association voted Tuesday to move forward with the proposal for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and send it to the players for them to decide by holding a full vote of the entire body of active players.

A 17-game schedule, increased playoff field, greater revenue share for players, shorter preseason and additional roster spots are among the changes that would be instituted if the proposal is approved. While many of those changes would serve to benefit the players, some have taken to Twitter to voice their displeasure with the proposal.

Among those players is Ravens backup quarterback Robert Griffin III, who called on his colleagues to unite against the proposal.

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who’s a vice president on the NFLPA’s executive committee, has actively spoken against the idea of expanding the season to 17 games, believing that it’s part of the league’s greater initiative to eventually push the season to 18 games.

Meanwhile, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quandre Diggs doesn’t think the increased revenue share is enough.

Several quarterbacks, including Seahawks signal caller Russell Wilson and the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, have also joined the fight against the proposal in its current form.

Rodgers said his decision to vote no is based on his conversations "with the men in my locker room that I'm tasked to represent."

No timetable has been given for when the vote will be held.

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