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Ravens might not be done with cap cuts


Ravens might not be done with cap cuts

The Ravens accomplished their No. 1 offseason objective earlier this week with Joe Flacco's contract extension.

Then the next day, they made some of the "tough decisions" that general manager Ozzie Newsome alluded to at the Combine, releasing longtime veterans Daryl Smith and Chris Canty.  

Suddenly, with those moves, the Ravens find themselves with more than $10 million in cap space they didn't have two days ago. So does this mean a spending spree when free agency opens March 9?

Not exactly.

The Ravens still have a lot of housekeeping to do before that, including offering any tenders to restricted free agents. The most pressing issue in that regard is wide receiver Kamar Aiken. If the Ravens want to keep Aiken, they might need to assign him a second-round tender, which would cost roughly $2.5 million. That means if another team made Aiken an offer that the Ravens refused to match, the Ravens would receive a second-round draft pick as compensation.

If the Ravens offer Aiken the low-round tender ($1.67 million), the Ravens would get nothing in return if Aiken left because he was undrafted.

Either way, Aiken  -- and possibly Brynden Trawick -- could get restricted free-agent tenders, which will eat into some of that cap savings.

If the Ravens want to free up even more space -- potentially keeping them in the running to retain Kelechi Osemele or go after another top-dollar free agent -- more cuts could be coming.

Here are a few other potential cap casualties in the next few days:

CB Kyle Arrington -- Cap savings: $1.43 million

Arrington never established himself as the slot/nickel corner the Ravens were looking for, and even with Lardarius Webb moving to safety, the Ravens might be ready to move on from the veteran.

S Kendrick Lewis -- Cap savings: $933,000

Lewis doesn't generate much cap savings, but with Webb moving to safety, is there room for all these safeties? Something might have to give, and Lewis did not do much to solidify his starting job last season. Ozzie Newsome has already said he views Webb as a starter.

S Matt Elam -- Cap savings: $1.32 million

Like Lewis, Elam is caught in a logjam at safety, and presumably begins the season behind Webb and Will Hill on the depth chart. Would the Ravens give up on their former first-round draft pick after just three years, one of which was lost to injury?

S Will Hill -- Cap savings:  $3 million

Sense a theme here? How much money and manpower will the Ravens commit to the safety position, with Webb also moving there? Hill was the best safety on the team last year, but the Ravens would save $2 million more cutting him instead of Lewis.

T Eugene Monroe - Cap savings: $2.1 million

Cutting Monroe would save in excess of $2 million, but would saddle the Ravens with more than $6 million in dead money, and they aren't likely to do that unless they know Osemele is coming back. But Osemele is going to test the market, which means Monroe should be safe -- for now.

[RELATED: Ravens decline option on Chris Canty]

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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?