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How about 18 games for teams, 16 for players?


How about 18 games for teams, 16 for players?

We mentioned the other day about how the NFL might wriggle its way to an 18-game season by cutting the preseason and then getting the NFL Players Association to agree to two more regular-season games because of decreased revenue, a lower salary cap and less money for players.

Heres another idea that has floated around: The season expands to 18, but no player is allowed to be active for more than 16 games.

Maybe this has no chance of happening, but consider that it would help address the issue of decreased player safety that two more games represents. Also, teams presumably would want bigger rosters because of the expanded season, and owners might be able to avoid losing too much of their increased revenue to paying more and bigger salaries.

But the cool thing about this idea is the challenge it would present to coaches. We would find out who the real geniuses are, wouldnt we? Basically, each coach would sort of have to play a little bit of fantasy football with his roster, deciding against which opponent he could sit members of his team.

Imagine how much more important a backup quarterback becomes when he has to start a couple of games each season. Your two-pronged attack at running back better develop a few more prongs. Offensive linemen had better be versatile enough to slide over to other positions. And make sure you have plenty of guys who can bring pressure on the passer.

Suppose the NFL had such an arrangement this season. If youre Ravens coach John Harbaugh, do you play Joe Flacco the first 16 games of the season and hope you have your playoff berth clinched for when its time to insert Tyrod Taylor in the last two weeks? If you sit Ray Rice against a weaker team, are you risking making an easy win into a close game because of a diminished running game? Which receivers are you least scared of to warrant giving Lardarius Webb the week off?

Would the NFL make teams announce whos playing by Thursday, sort of how the league mandates injury reports? And would coaches be able to change their minds or make switches because of injury? And so would Bill Belichick say every week that Tom Brady is going to sit out, only to start him when the Patriots backup QB suffers yet another injury during warm-ups?

Were kind of warming to this idea.

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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?