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Five final thoughts on Ravens at Bengals


Five final thoughts on Ravens at Bengals

CINCINNATI- Five final thoughts on the Ravens (5-10), as they prepare to end their disappointing season against the playoff-bound Bengals (11-4):

1. This could the last game in a Ravens uniform for two starters about to become unrestricted free agents - left tackle Kelechi Osemele and outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw.

2. A. J. McCarron will start at quarterback for the Bengals, but they hope to get Andy Dalton back at some point during the playoffs. Dalton hopes to have the cast removed from his thumb on Monday. Dalton is unlikely to be ready to play next weekend, but there’s a chance he could return for the divisional round. That gives the Bengals even more to play for against the Ravens.  If the Bengals beat the Ravens, and the Broncos lose to the Chargers, the Bengals will have a first-round bye, and perhaps get Dalton back for the divisional round.

3. With Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken needing 132 yards to reach 1,000 receiving yards for the season, expect quarterback Ryan Mallet to target Aiken on some deep throws. Aiken wants a victory first and foremost. But he also wants 1,000 yards, and the Ravens want him to get it.

4. Today’s outcome will determine the Ravens’ position in next year’s draft. They would currently pick No. 8, and a loss would insure them of having a top-10 pick. They have not made a top-10 selection since 2003, when they chose outside linebacker Terrell Suggs.

5. When running back Buck Allen takes his first snap today, he will be the only Ravens rookie who played in all 16 games.

RELATED: Bengals OC Jackson a hot head coach candidate

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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?