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Reasons why Steve Smith's return is huge for Ravens


Reasons why Steve Smith's return is huge for Ravens

Here are five reasons why wide receiver Steve Smith’s decision to return, not retire, is huge for the Ravens:

1. Smith was playing like he was 26, not 36, before his injury.

Smith was by far the Ravens’ best receiver before tearing his Achilles with 46 catches for 670 yards and three touchdowns in seven games. While there’s no way of knowing if Smith will have the same speed and cutting ability, even Smith at 80 percent of what he was is better than most NFL receivers.

2. His competitive attitude rubs off on younger players.

Full speed is the only speed that Smith knows, whether it’s a practice or game day. His intensity is infectious, and sets the bar high for everyone else. Wide receiver Kamar Aiken, having his best season, regularly talks about the Smith’s influence. Having that kind of locker room leader return is a positive.

3. Rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee injury) and Smith have never played together.

Perriman’s speed and Smith’s all-around ability could be a formidable one-two punch if both stay healthy next season. Aiken will be a restricted free agent, but assuming he returns, that trio would give the Ravens a nucleus to solid wide receiver nucleus to build with.

4. Smith is approaching some important milestones.

He needs just 39 catches for 1,000 career receptions. Only 13 receivers have reached 1,000 career catches. Smith also needs 1,068 receiving yards to reach 15,000 for his career. The bigger Smith’s numbers, the better his chances for the Hall of Fame.

5. There’s no such thing as having too many playmakers.

The Ravens can’t expect Smith to be a 1,000-yard receiver forever, but having him as part of the mix next year is a plus for quarterback Joe Flacco and the entire offense.

MORE RAVENS: Steve Smith announces plans for next season

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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?