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Rookies make notable contributions


Rookies make notable contributions

When it comes to the Ravens' rookie class, coach John Harbaugh cracks into a smile. That's not easy these days given his team is facing serious questions on both sides of the football coming out of the bye week.

"We have a good rookie class, don’t we? I mean, it’s a good group," Harbaugh said.

The Ravens have gotten a lot of contributions from their first-year players, though some understandably have yet to get their chance:

Kelechi Osemele: The RT worked his way into the starting lineup and has started every game. He injured his right knee and ankle in the 43-13 loss to the Houston Texans but appears to be OK. Harbaugh: "Kelechi speaks for itself. He’s started every single game. He had the ankle (injury) and then he comes rolling back out there in the second half, gutted it out, and played pretty darn well."

Bernard Pierce: As the No. 2 RB behind Ray Rice, he hasn't gotten as much work as expected. But he's averaging better than 5.0 yards per carry. Harbaugh: "You’ve seen his talent. … Talking about the running game and getting the ball in Ray’s hands a little, that’s something we need to do with Bernard, too. We need to get Bernard out there more. We need to get him some more carries and touches, because he brings a different little style."

Justin Tucker: The K has only missed one FG, making 16 of 17, including 4-for-4 from 50 yards or more. Harbaugh: "He has done a great job."

Courtney Upshaw: He took over the starting job at rush LB in Week 2, when Paul Kruger went down with a back injury, and hasn't done anything to lose it. Harbaugh: "Courtney is getting better every single week. He won the game ball (vs. Dallas) for defense."

Christian Thompson: Still hasn't worked his way into the secondary even with the injury to Lardarius Webb. Because they're thin there the third-string SS will remain active and get his chances on special teams.

Gino Gradkowski: He hasn't had to replace veteran C Matt Birk, but given the injuries to the OL he could find his way on the field given Harbaugh's suggestion he might mix and match to get better protection for QB Joe Flacco. Harbaugh: "Gino has been active every game, so he’s in the mix as a backup guard. I really think he’s ready to play if his opportunity comes."

Deonte Thompson: Third-string WR lost the starting job as kick returner going into the Dallas game as he was de-activated and Jacoby Jones installed. Jones responded with a 108-yard return for a TD and has relegated Thompson.

Bobby Rainey: The fourth-string RB recently was elevated from the practice squad but hasn't been active for any games yet. If he's to make the game-day active roster, he'll have to earn the playing time on special teams.

Asa Jackson: There hasn't been any room for the third-string CB as a returner or in the secondary, but that could change given the injury issues. Harbaugh: "Asa has been growing into the thing. He was close to being active (vs. Houston). He’s working in the slot, so that’s a possibility with the injury to Lardarius (Webb) that he could see some time."

DeAngelo Tyson: The DE played for the first time vs. Houston, and given the lack of production from that position -- starter Pernell McPhee and second-stringer Arthur Jones only have a total of one-half sack -- he could edge his way up.

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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?