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Amid cool market, could Upshaw return to Ravens?


Amid cool market, could Upshaw return to Ravens?

It's now been nearly a week since free agency began, and as usual, a few big names went off the board right away -- Kelechi Osemele to the Raiders among them.

But the Ravens other major unrestricted free agent, linebacker Courtney Upshaw, remains unsigned in a market that appears to be no more than lukewarm about the edge-setting linebacker. Is there a chance that Upshaw might land back in Baltimore?

With five sacks in four seasons, Upshaw didn't figure to land a payday like premier sack-monster linebackers. But Upshaw has been durable -- he hasn't missed a game in his four-year NFL career -- and he's physical, with 51 tackles this past season.

There has been a lot of speculation that Upshaw might land in Indianapolis, since Ted Monachino, Upshaw's former linebackers coach with the Ravens, was hired this offseason as the Colts defensive coordinator. But it hasn't happened yet, and every day Upshaw goes unsigned would seem to increase his chances he returns to Baltimore.

With Terrell Suggs sidelined this season, Upshaw had a chance to step into a role as a pass rusher, but results were not impressive. It's pretty clear after four years that will never be his calling card, but he remains a solid edge-setter, a physical player in the mold the Ravens like.

General manager Ozzie Newsome was noncommittal about Upshaw when asked at the Combine, saying, "History will say we’ll get some signed and some will go to other clubs. When that happens, I wish them well.”

Still, with Upshaw sitting on the open market, Newsome's mantra of "right player, right price" might apply here.

The Ravens know they need to upgrade their pass rush, and they have been linked to some of the top edge rushers available in the draft. But they also like Upshaw's physical ability, and the way he sets the edge on run downs. If the Ravens can bring him back on a bargain deal in a soft market, it could be another fiscal coup for Newsome and the Ravens.

MORE RAVENS: Five questions to ask as Ravens acquire Weddle

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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed wide receiver 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 Schefter.

After being released by the Raiders on 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 wide receiver 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?