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Ravens cut two veterans to shake up defensive depth chart


Ravens cut two veterans to shake up defensive depth chart

The Ravens announced the release of outside linebacker Jason Babin and cornerback Rashaan Melvin on Tuesday, with the team reeling at 1-4, and the defense floundering. Two cornerbacks were promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster –Asa Jackson and Charles James.

Babin did not have a sack or a tackle in sporadic playing time, and never made much of an impact after being signed last month following Terrell Suggs’ season-ending Achilles injury. And during Sunday’s 33-30 overtime loss to the Browns , Babin was called for a penalty on two Browns’ touchdown drives. In their third quarter, Babin was called for illegal use of hands, giving the Browns a first down when they would have been stopped on fourth down. Then in the fourth quarter, Babin lined up in the neutral zone, a penalty that coach John Harbaugh singled out during his Monday press conference. Rookie outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith also had an offside penalty during that same drive.

“We’re not advocating penalties,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not something that we want to see. The ones that were most hurtful were the offside, where we lined up in the neutral zone, twice in the same drive. That was unfathomable.”

Melvin has fallen out of favor in recent weeks, and was not activated for Sunday’s game. Instead of turning to Melvin with cornerback Will Davis (torn ACL) done for the year, and Lardarius Webb (thigh) dealing with another injury, the Ravens made other moves. They signed free agent cornerback Shareece Wright on Monday night, and will give Jackson and James a chance to earn playing time.

Cutting Babin and Melvin also sends a message to the roster, especially the defense. The Ravens may be losing games. But they don’t have to accept losing with the same players.

[RELATED: Harbaugh not considering coaching changes]

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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?