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Five thoughts on free agency from Ravens point view


Five thoughts on free agency from Ravens point view

Five thoughts on free agency so far from a Ravens perspective:

1. Parting ways with left tackle Eugene Monroe at this point seems like too risky a move.

Left tackle is too important of a position to trust with just anyone. Monroe seems like a better option than signing free agent left tackles on the market like Kelvin Beachum, Russell Okung, or Donald Penn. The Ravens would be better off keeping Monroe, and using the No. 6 pick on a defensive player who can make an instant impact, rather than drafting an offensive lineman like Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame at No. 6

2. The fact Courtney Upshaw did not sign with anyone quickly was a good sign for the Ravens.

The Ravens want Upshaw back. Free agency is fluid, but apparently nobody made Upshaw an early offer he couldn’t refuse. Upshaw does the dirty work at outside linebacker, setting the edge and playing tough run defense. If the Ravens re-sign him, it’s a plus for the defense.

3. Nobody in the AFC North is in worst shape than the Browns.

That’s not a news flash. But losing offensive linemen Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz; receiver Travis Benjamin and safety Tashaun Gipson leaves the Browns with more holes to fill. Yes, the Browns were bad last season. But that doesn’t mean they can’t get worse.

4. The Ravens’ reputation around the NFL remains solid with players, despite their 5-11 record in 2015.

Tight end Ben Watson, who should be a nice addition for the Ravens, had this to say after signing a two-year, $8 million deal.

“There are certain teams in the NFL who have a certain aura about them…even if they didn’t have the greatest year or whatever, you know that that team is going to be competitive overall,” Watson said. “You know you’re going to have to play well if you want to win against that team. To be here and to be part of that is exciting for me.”

When the Ravens want to land a player, general manager Ozzie Newsome doesn’t have to do a selling job about the benefits of coming to Baltimore. That’s an edge some teams don’t have.

5. The Ravens aren’t sorry to see the Bengals lose wide receiver Marvin Jones.

In two games against the Ravens last season, Jones had 10 catches for 132 yards and a touchdown. A. J. Green is the wide receiver who really kills the Ravens, but Jones does his share of damage. He’s a nice pickup for the Lions after Calvin Johnson’s retirement. And with Jones and Mohamed Sanu (Falcons) both leaving the Bengals, maybe the Ravens’ secondary will have a little more success dealing with Green.

MORE RAVENS: Ravens awarded three compensatory picks

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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?