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5 observations from Monday's OTA workout


5 observations from Monday's OTA workout

The Ravens wrap up their final week of voluntary OTAs this week, with the session on Monday being the last one open to the media. The team will be back on the field three more days this week, and then will hold a mandatory minicamp June 16-18.

A lot will still happen between now and Week 1 in September, but here are five impressions from Monday's workout:

* Crockett Gillmore shows off his hands

On back-to-back plays in a red zone drill, the tight end went over the top of linebacker Arthur Brown to haul in touchdown catches. He made several other good grabs as well. Gillmore had 10 catches for 121 yards and one touchdown in the regular season as a rookie last year, but with Dennis Pitta sidelined and Owen Daniels gone, Gillmore should be much bigger part of the offense this season.

* Matt Elam is on the rebound

Elam, whose 2014 season was a major disappointment, has been getting a lot of reps with the starters at safety. He, Will Hill and Kendrick Lewis all are in the mix, and after practice, defensive coordinator Dean Pees praised Elam as having his "best camp ... bar none, not even close." One of Elam's biggest issues last season was tackling, and it's hard to see whether that has improved until contact is allowed. Still, the Ravens would greatly benefit from an improved Elam.

* Breshad Perriman is living up to billing

Perriman made a leaping touchdown catch in traffic yesterday, and his combination of size (6-foot-2) and speed is impressive. Drops have been an issue for Perriman in the past, but you wouldn't know it from watching OTA drills. Thus far, Perriman has caught pretty much all the balls he should catch. He's also made some nice adjustments on less-than-perfect throws to haul in catches.

* Who is the No. 3 corner?

Jimmy Smith took part in just some light individual work on Monday, and Lardarius Webb skipped the voluntary OTA session. That left Asa Jackson, Kyle Arrington and Rashaan Melvin all getting a lot of work in the prototypical corner spot, matched up 1-on-1 outside against a receiver. But both Jackson and Arrington are better suited to play inside as a slot/nickel corner. If either Webb or Smith goes down this season, who takes over on the outside?

* Matt Schaub still finds the wrong team too often

The Ravens like having a proven NFL quarterback behind Joe Flacco, but Schaub can't seem to avoid the interception. Za'Darius Smith had what would have been a pick-six against Schaub in an earlier OTA, and on Monday, reserve cornerback Quinton Pointer grabbed a tipped pass and could have scored on the return as well. Schaub might have the NFL experience, but there is a big dropoff from Joe Flacco to him.



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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers WR Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?