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Bubble watch: Defense


Bubble watch: Defense

We previouslylooked at the offense to see who's in, who's out and who is on the bubble asthe Ravens prepare to trim their roster from 75 to the final 53-player limit byFriday.Our projectionincluded 24 offensive players, which would leave 29 spots for the defense andspecialists.
The final few spots will likely be decided on Thursday night, when the Ravens conclude the preseason at St. Louis.
"Were going to try to win the game, but were going to try to get as many reps as we can for the guys that were trying to determine their future," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said after practice Monday. "These guys work too hard out here to not give them every opportunity out there in a game situation to prove what they can do. This is their dream. There are a lot of guys that have an opportunity right now that are on the bubble to make this team."Beginning Sept. 1, teams can sign players to their eight-man practice squads, so some whose bubble burst on Friday could end up on the practice squad the next day.
Here's how we seethose final roster spots shaking out:DEFENSIVE LINE(7 make the team):Locks (5): TerenceCody, Arthur Jones, Ma'ake Kemoeatu, Haloti Ngata, Pernell McPhee.On the bubble:Bryan Hall, DeAngelo Tyson, Nicolas Jean-BaptisteThere is a lot ofdiscussion of whether Cody or Kemoeatu wins the starting job at nose tackle,but all five locks will play extensively. Hall, a practice squad member a yearago, and Tyson, the Ravens' seventh-round draft pick, benefit from the season-endinginjury to Ryan McBean, who was placed on injured reserve with broken ankle. Theguess here is that both make the team, helping interior depth, butJean-Baptiste does not.LINEBACKER (9):Locks (7):Brendon Ayanbadejo, Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger, Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain,Albert McClellan, Courtney UpshawOn the bubble:Ricky Brown, Nigel Carr, Sergio Kindle, Chavis WilliamsWe assume the Ravens keep nine linebackers, leaving a couple of these bubble players out ofluck. Coach John Harbaugh said this week that Kindle is "not a lock"to make the team, but he will sneak in. There is still too much potential in theoft-injured linebacker for the Ravens to give up on him yet. Williams can help onspecial teams and earns the ninth and final linebacker spot over Carr, who hasa team-high 12 tackles this preseason.DEFENSIVE BACKS(10):Locks (7): SeanConsidine, Corey Graham, Bernard Pollard, Ed Reed, Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb,Cary Williams On the bubble:Chykie Brown, Omar Brown, Danny Gorrer, Asa Jackson, Christian ThompsonThis is thedeepest unit of the team, and also represents the heart of special teams play. The season-ending injury to safety Emanuel Cook (broken leg) opens up a spot, andConsidine's concussions -- two thus far in training camp -- strengthens thecase for Thompson, a safety and the Ravens' fourth-round draft pick. Jackson, a fifth-roundpick, has shown promise in the secondary and on returns. This would leave onespot for Chykie Brown, "Mr. Turnover" Omar Brown and Gorrer. For now,we'll go with Gorrer, but don't write that in stone. By releasing BillyCundiff, the Ravens saved about 2 million in cap space, money that can be usedto sign a veteran safety who will hit the waiver wire this week.
SPECIALISTS (3)Locks: MorganCox, Sam Koch, Justin Tucker.On the bubble:NoneThe only bubble in this group burst when Billy Cundiff was released this week, and the jobs for Cox, the long snapper, and Koch were never in doubt.

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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?