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Ravens 6-foot-6 WR Waller making strong case to make roster


Ravens 6-foot-6 WR Waller making strong case to make roster

PHILADELPHIA – News and notes from Thursday’s Ravens-Eagles joint practice:

- It’s going to be very difficult for the Ravens to cut WR Darren Waller.

I say Waller makes the 53-man roster, after another very impressive day. He used his 6-foot-6 size to make two catches with Eagles corners draped over him. Waller is raw, but he has the potential to become a very good player. After drafting him in the sixth round, the Ravens are unlikely to let a potential weapon like Waller walk away. 

- Ravens rookie tight end Nick Boyle continued to show pass-catching skills.

The Ravens knew Boyle could block when they drafted him in the fifth round. But his pass catching and route running are improving rapidly. After having the ball stripped from his hands and dropping a pass early in practice, Boyle didn’t pout. He responded by making three difficult catches and getting open consistently. The Ravens remain confident that their young tight end trio of Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Willams, and Boyle will be enough.

- Free agent WR Tom Nelson is a long shot, but he’s making plays.

Nelson is a 28-year-old converted safety who has played for the Eagles, Bengals, Bears, and Panthers. After the Panthers cut him last year, Nelson switched from safety to wide receiver, hoping he could stick with a team at that position. It’s going to be difficult for Nelson to make the Ravens’ 53-man roster, but he’s getting plenty of reps. At the very least, Nelson could land on another team’s roster or practice squad, and he is making the Ravens’ coaches play close attention.

“I didn’t know anything about him, in all honesty,” said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. “He’s a very good route runner for a guy that’s never played wide receiver. A good feel for getting in zones, getting open, very good hands. He’s done a nice job. He’s put himself in the conversation.”

- Practice was more intense than Wednesday, but without major incident.

There were a couple of brief tussles, but nothing over the top. Friday’s workout won’t be as physical, with the teams resting bodies for Saturday night’s game in Philadelphia. It appears the Ravens and Eagles may last through three days of practice without a major brawl.

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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed wide receiver 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 Schefter.

After being released by the Raiders on 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 wide receiver 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?