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A bold move

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A bold move

They rolled the dice. They gambled. They took a shot.
Come up with any phrase you like, but its still the same thing the Ravens made a bold move on Sunday.
Thats when they cut veteran kicker Billy Cundiff in favor of rookie Justin Tucker. The Ravens are one of the NFLs better teams and turned the place-kicking job over to an undrafted rookie, telling a veterans whod been to the Pro Bowl that his services were no longer needed around here.
Tucker came from Texas where he played in a big game or two. He knows about pressure and has taken a few kicks in tough situations. The Longhorns always play in very big games.
But the NFL is a different world. A much different world. Tucker certainly projects confidence when he kicks. Theres no doubt about it. He's accurate and can blast the ball. The big question is if he cab keep his success going in the regular season. The coaches clearly believe he can.
Whats interesting now is that the two players whose mistakes helped the Patriots beat the Ravens in last years AFC title game are both gone. Lee Evans dropped a TD pass that would have put the Ravens into the Super Bowl, and Cundiff then missed a potential game-tying field goal from 32 yards.
An interesting question one well never probably know the answer to is how much faith Cundiffs teammates still had in him. He was a good kicker who did miss nine kicks last year. Its fair to ask what would have happened if Cundiff started slowly this year.
If the Ravens then wanted to make a move, how hard would it be at that point to find a good kicker? That playoff miss was a big one and would have hung over Cundiff for however long he remained a Raven. Such is the life of a place-kicker.
But on the other side, how hard was it going to be for the Ravens to let a player with Tuckers talent go?
Its clear to see this is a kid whos got the tools to do good things. Even though some fans who love to criticize are probably throwing a party tonight because Cundiffs gone, this decision might have had just as much to do with the fact that letting someone with Tucker's talents go might have been just too hard for the Ravens to do.

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Dez Bryant turned down multi-year deal from Ravens, is banking on himself in 2018

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USA TODAY Sports

Dez Bryant turned down multi-year deal from Ravens, is banking on himself in 2018

If you want to sign Dez Bryant in 2018, it will have to be on a one-year deal.

The 29 year-old wide receiver turned down a multi-year offer from the Baltimore Ravens in hopes of finding a one-year deal that enables him to test the open market again in 2019, Ed Werder of The Doomsday Podcast first reported.

Bryant - who finished 2017 with 69 receptions, 838 yards and six touchdowns -  is predicating a bounce back season in 2018 with hopes of a big money, long-term contract in 2019.

The offer was similar to that of Michael Crabtree's three-year, $21 million deal, according to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport. The Ravens had to offer Bryant a multi-year deal in order to fit his number under the salary cap.

Since turning down their offer, the Ravens signed former Saints WR Willie Snead to a two-year, $10.4 million contract. 

Bryant will now have to wait until after the 2018 NFL Draft to work out a deal with an organization, if one is still searching for a wide receiver going in to the tail end of his career. 

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Ahead of NFL Draft, Ravens add to wide receiver corps with Willie Snead

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USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of NFL Draft, Ravens add to wide receiver corps with Willie Snead

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Receiver Willie Snead has bid farewell to the Saints, which means New Orleans apparently won't match the contract the Baltimore Ravens offered the restricted free agent.

Eager to add a target for quarterback Joe Flacco, the Ravens on Friday offered Snead a two-year, $10.4 million contract. The Saints had five days to match the deal. Snead indicated Monday on Twitter that he's headed out of New Orleans.

Snead tweeted: "What I'm going to miss most is the men in the locker room & the coaches."

He added: "Even though I'm sad to go, I'm even more excited for the next chapter in my life. I can't wait to strap it on as a Baltimore Raven."

Hampered by a three-game suspension and a hamstring injury, Snead was limited to eight catches for 92 yards last year.

In 2015, he had 69 receptions for 984 yards. He caught 72 passes for 895 yards in 2016.

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