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Interesting position battles at Ravens OTAs


Interesting position battles at Ravens OTAs

The Ravens will have their second open practice of OTA’s on Wednesday afternoon, giving the media another chance to evaluate how the team is shaping up. Here’s an early look at some of the key competitions to watch:

Running back

Buck Allen vs. Lorenzo Taliaferro

They’re vying to be the No. 2 back behind Justin Forsett. Allen was a reliable receiver at USC, which could give him an edge. But Taliaferro has a year of experience in the Ravens’ offense. Should be an interesting competition.

Wide receiver

Marlon Brown vs. Breshad Perriman

Other than Steve Smith, which wide receiver will become Joe Flacco’s most trusted target? Kamar Aiken and Michael Campanaro are among others vying for that role. But Campanaro is currently sidelined with a quadriceps injury and his ability to stay healthy remains an issue. Brown led the Ravens in touchdowns as a rookie in 2013, while Perriman was the Ravens’ first-round pick. Brown and Perriman have a chance to establish a comfort level this spring and summer, working with Flacco in new coordinator Marc Trestman’s system.

Strong safety

Matt Elam vs. Will Hill

HEADLINE - Interesting position battles to watch at OTA's

Free agent pickup Kendrick Lewis is expected to start at free safety, leaving Elam and Hill to vie for the starting spot at strong safety. Elam, a first-round pick in 2013, wants to prove he isn’t a bust. Hill wants to prove the Ravens can depend on him, after his past off-field issues and suspensions. The Ravens hope the competition brings out the best in both, and makes their secondary stronger.
Tight end

Crockett Gillmore vs. Maxx Williams
Gillmore is the better blocker, with Williams being the more polished receiver. Both will have a role, especially because the Ravens will use some two tight-end sets. Williams could have the biggest impact of any Ravens rookie if he’s a fast learner. Flacco loves throwing to tight ends and last year’s most productive tight end, Owen Daniels, left for the Broncos in free agency. The Ravens also drafted tight end Nick Boyle in the fifth round, and Dennis Pitta is trying to return from his second major hip injury. But at the moment, Williams and Gillmore have the inside track to see the most reps at tight end.

RELATED Veteran journalist ranks Ravens No. 1 in offseason poll

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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?