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How Justin Tucker's clutch track record gives him leverage


How Justin Tucker's clutch track record gives him leverage

Justin Tucker has never missed an extra point in four seasons with the Ravens. Unlike Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who missed a crucial extra point Sunday during the AFC Championship.

Tucker’s proven performance under pressure is another reason the Ravens are determined to keep him, even if they have to use the franchise tag. Last year, the franchise tag for kickers was $4.12 million. Tucker is an impending unrestricted free agent, but asked about his status at the “State of the Ravens” press conference, general manager Ozzie Newsome made it clear Tucker was part of next season’s plans.

“We would like to have Justin continue to be part of our football team,” Newsome said. “We will work on trying to get a contract done. We do know what the franchise number is for a kicker, if it gets to that.”

Tucker has made 139 straight extra points, and having made 130 of 148 field goal attempts during his four-year career, he has demonstrated an ability to make clutch kicks time and again.


Gostkowski has as well, but he picked a bad time to falter after making 523 straight extra points. His rare miss was a major factor in the Patriots’ 20-18 loss to the Broncos. After their final touchdown in the waning moments, the Patriots were forced to go for a two-point conversion because of Gostkowski’s missed extra point early in the game. The two-point conversion attempt failed, and afterward, Gostkowski blamed himself for the defeat.

“I feel like I lost the game,” Gostkowski said via the Boston Globe. “I feel sorry for myself, but I don’t expect people to feel sorry for me.”

Gostkowski signed a four-year, $17.2 million deal with the Patriots last season that included a $6 million signing bonus, making him the NFL’s highest-paid kicker. It will likely take a bigger deal to sign Tucker, who should have many good seasons left at age 26.

Expect the Ravens to do whatever is necessary to keep Tucker. In clutch situations, there is nobody else they would rather have kicking for them.

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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?