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Ravens' rivals improved


Ravens' rivals improved

Two days and six rounds of the 2012 NFL draft remain, but the Ravens didnt improve in relation to their closest and fiercest rivals during Thursdays first round.

The Pittsburgh Steelers picked up the best offensive guard in this years class, Stanfords David DeCastro; it was a big surprise that he was still around for the 24th pick, and the Steelers took advantage.

Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals a surprise 2011 playoff team that the Ravens struggled to sweep added a pair of immediate starters in guard Kevin Zeitler, a player the Ravens like, and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick a name you will hear given Ravens quarterback Joe Flaccos familiar struggles against Cincinnati.

Even the Cleveland Browns, perennial AFC North doormats, took a bold stab at improving, overhauling their offense with a new running back, Trent Richardson, and a new quarterback. Brandon Weeden. Whether those players actually make a difference remains to be seen, but the Browns werent competing with the Ravens the old way, having lost nine in a row, so why not try a new direction?

Bottom line, five of the first 27 players selected Thursday night went to the Ravens divisional rivals, and also, the New England Patriots, who defeated the Ravens in the AFC title game three months ago, moved boldly to add defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Donta Hightower, a pair of coveted front-seven defenders, bolstering their biggest weakness.

While everyone around them improved, the Ravens added no one, electing to trade out of the bottom of the first round. It was a calculated move, of course, and Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome explained his thinking quite adroitly late Thursday night, pointing out that the Ravens added an extra pick by trading down and still believe theyll land an elite player with Fridays third pick.

They might even package some of their second-, third- and fourth-round picks (they now have five overall) to move up and grab a second name player early Friday.

But whatever they do, they'll be playing catch-up in relation to their rivals after Thursdays opening round.

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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?