Ravens officials believe Redding is an upgrade over Dwan Edwards, last year’s starting defensive end who recently signed with the Buffalo Bills.
“We’re excited about Cory,” coach John Harbaugh said at the owners meetings Monday. “He fits us. He plays with a high motor. He plays with great energy. He’s a sideline-to-sideline type of a player. I think he’s really excited to be a Raven.
Harbaugh added, “When you talk about how much he admires our defensive style and the way our guys play — kind of being in the mix with all of our guys on defense — Ray [Lewis], Ed [Reed], Haloti [Ngata], [Terrell] Suggs — he thinks it’s going to give him a chance to blossom as a player. I would agree with him.”
Redding, who is 6 feet 4, 295 pounds, also has more versatility than Edwards because he can play defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense and end in a 3-4 defense.
“This will sound a little like a broken record, but Cory is a guy who plays like a Raven,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. “He hustles, he plays with intelligence, and he can play multiple positions like many of our defensive players. He’s been a starter at both inside tackle and defensive end. And I am sure our coaches will use him in both positions.”
Redding, 29, had 20 tackles and two sacks last season for the Seattle Seahawks. He had previously played six years for the Detroit Lions.
A third-round pick by the Lions in 2003, Redding soon became one of the best inside pass-rushers in the NFL. In February 2007, the Lions put the franchise tag on Redding before agreeing to a seven-year, $49 million contract (included $16 million guaranteed). That made Redding the highest paid defensive tackle in the NFL at that point.
Injuries to his knee and groin ended his 2008 season. Last year, the Seattle Seahawks acquired Redding and a fifth-round pick in exchange for linebacker Julian Peterson.
“We watched him on tape. We loved him from the get-go,” Harbaugh said. “Greg [Mattison, defensive coordinator] loved him. [Defensive line coach] Clarence Brooks really loved him. We feel like he fits the Ravens really well.”