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Ravens' roster analysis: pass receivers


Ravens' roster analysis: pass receivers

A post-draft assessment of the Ravens' corps of receivers and tight ends:

Players under contract before the draft: wide receivers Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss, LaQuan Williams, David Reed, Rodney Bradley, Patrick Williams, Philip Livas; tight ends Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta, Davon Drew.

2012 draft picks: wide receiver Tommy Streeter (sixth round).

Undrafted free agents: wide receivers Devin Goda (Slippery Rock), Dorian Graham (Syracuse), Deonte Thompson (Florida); tight ends Lamont Bryant (Morgan State), Nick Provo (Syracuse).

What we know:
Boldin and Smith are the starting wideouts, and Dickson will start at tight end, splitting duties with Pitta. After that, its a cast of thousands battling for the deep backup slots.

Up for grabs:
The No. 3 wide receiver spot remains wide open. There are 10 candidates on the roster, for those keeping track. It's a huge opportunity for a bunch of young guys. LaQuan Williams is the only one with an NFL reception to his name.

Dickson caught 54 passes in his first year as a starter, but his blocking was iffy and he dropped a few too many balls late in the season as Pitta came on. There could be some mild lineup juggling. The No. 3 tight end will need to block well and contribute on special teams.

Keep an eye on:

Touchdown Tommy Streeter looks like an absolute steal on paper, a 6-5 guy who runs a 4.4 40 and caught more passes for Miami in 2011 than Stephen Hill did in his career at Georgia Tech. He dropped in the draft because hes raw, and the Ravens have the habit of burying rookie receivers taken in the mid-to-late rounds, but he has as much upside as anyone. The Ravens should throw him a million balls in the preseason.

Boldin (32 in October) plays tough and can still produce but struggles more and more every year to gain separation from defenders. Smith, already a game-breaker, had an excellent rookie season but can improve his consistency and drop fewer balls. Pitta is a tweener who could line up in the slot and cause matchup headaches.

Fans were hoping to see a big-name addition to this group after the pasing game struggled at times in 2011, but the Ravens passed on the free agent market (wisely as it spun out of control) and also passed on receivers high in the draft, leaving the status quo in place. One way or another, the Ravens need to get more out of this group as they seek yet again to improve their passing game.

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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?