Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome said he won’t repeat the mistake he made after the 2001 Super Bowl, when he tried to keep the team intact for a second run at a championship instead of upgrading key positions.
The Ravens will release strong safety Bernard Pollard, the leading tackler, according to ESPN.com.
Baltimore has lost seven players from the team that beat the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31, to capture the Super Bowl at the Superdome in New Orleans in February: receiver Anquan Boldin, who was traded to the 49ers; guard Bobbie Williams, who was released; Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger, who became free agents; and linebacker Ray Lewis and center Matt Birk, who retired.
Meanwhile, the Ravens took steps to lock down their best player, signing Super Bowl Most Valuable Player and quarterback Joe Flacco to an NFL-record six-year, $120.6 million agreement that included a $29 million signing bonus and $52 million in guaranteed money.
Pollard carried a $3.25 million cap figure for next season and was due a $500,000 roster bonus in three days, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed is also a free agent, meaning the team risks losing both its starting safeties from last year’s championship lineup.
The Sun reported yesterday that the Ravens were $13.3 million under the $123 million cap for NFL payrolls, giving Newsome room to sign additional free agents.
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