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Gordon proves a nice supplement for Browns


Gordon proves a nice supplement for Browns

It's possible that a few years down the road, one of the great picks of the 2012 NFL draft will prove to be someone who wasn't even picked in the regular draft.

Browns receiver Josh Gordon was taken in the second round of the supplemental draft in July, nearly three months after the regular NFL Draft. After a slow start, Gordon is starting to deliver on the promise he showed at Baylor.

To review, players land in the supplemental draft for a variety of reasons, often complicated and rarely good.  In Gordon's case, he had starred alongside Robert Griffin III at Baylor in 2010, catching 42 passes for 714 yards and 10 touchdowns. But then he was suspended from the team for failing a marijuana test and ultimately transferred to Utah. He sat out the 2011 season as a transfer, and then left Utah and threw his name into the supplemental draft.

In the supplemental draft, a team can pick an available player in any round, but the the team forfeits the corresponding pick in the following season's regular draft.

Gordon, a 6-foot-3, 225-pounder, was seen as having a lot of athleticism and good hands, but he also had off-field baggage and had been away from the game for a year. Most pundits projected him as a third- or fourth-round supplemental pick, but the Browns jumped in and used a second-round pick on him.

"We are getting a really good football player and we are getting him a year early," Browns general manager Tom Heckert said at the time. "I think next year we will be sitting there going, 'Wow.' If he plays like we think he is going to play this year, I think it will obviously be a good decision."

Supplemental picks have rarely proved to be top-of-the-depth-chart talent, but the Browns clearly think Gordon can be the exception, as was another former Browns supplemental draft pick -- quarterback Bernie Kosar.

Gordon was not a factor in the first meeting between the Ravens and Browns, with just one catch for 16 yards. But since then, he has become one of quarterback Brandon Weeden's favorite targets.

Gordon has had four touchdown catches in the past four games and leads the team with 379 receiving yards. He is averaging 22.3 yards a catch and has given a spark to a Browns passing attack that the past few years has been hurt by receivers prone to dropping passes.

Ravens corners, particularly Jimmy Smith, have struggled defending the double move up the sideline, and you can bet the Browns and Gordon have noticed that on film.

 “I think he’s shown me that he’s got a chance to be a pretty darn good player," Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. "Now, how far he goes with that we’ll see, but I’m seeing steady improvement. I think it’s fair to say the light has gone on a little bit."


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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?