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Tucker provides bright spot on dreary day

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Tucker provides bright spot on dreary day

One of the few positives from Sunday's loss was the play of the special teams, specifically kicker Justin Tucker. In fact, he's been really something in his first seven games as a rookie.

Tucker nailed a pair of long kicks in the 43-13 loss to Houston on Sunday. He hit field goals from 51 and 54 yards -- both of which went through with room to spare. Tucker's long-distance kicking skills will give the Ravens the kind of weapon they're really never had before.

Even when Matt Stover, who was impressive with his consistency, performed at his best, his only weakness turned out to be his lack of success at longer kicks. But in recent years, things have changed in the NFL as more younger kickers have been able to not only make kicks of longer than 50 yards but do it with ease.

That's why Tucker could be a big help for the Ravens. He's blasting the kickoffs and his long-distance kicking for field goals certainly will give coach John Harbaugh confidence to take shots they wouldn't have with Stover or Billy Cundiff.

That makes the offense more dangerous, something that will help considering how well they've played at times this season. If they know that Tucker can  hit from 52 yards, that means the Ravens only have to get the ball to the opposing 35-yard line, about 10 yards less work than with other kickers.

It also could help later in the season and in playoff games, something the Ravens haven't been able to do much in the past. Post-season games often come down to one play, which can usually involve a field goal.

The other thing Tucker's shown is the ability to stay calm. That's not often the case with rookie kickers, but Tucker's shown no problem walking on to the field and kicking the ball 50-55 yards.
 
It will be interesting to see how well Tucker fares in the second half of the season. He's been one of the true bright spots on the team so far.

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Dez Bryant turned down multi-year deal from Ravens, is banking on himself in 2018

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USA TODAY Sports

Dez Bryant turned down multi-year deal from Ravens, is banking on himself in 2018

If you want to sign Dez Bryant in 2018, it will have to be on a one-year deal.

The 29 year-old wide receiver turned down a multi-year offer from the Baltimore Ravens in hopes of finding a one-year deal that enables him to test the open market again in 2019, Ed Werder of The Doomsday Podcast first reported.

Bryant - who finished 2017 with 69 receptions, 838 yards and six touchdowns -  is predicating a bounce back season in 2018 with hopes of a big money, long-term contract in 2019.

The offer was similar to that of Michael Crabtree's three-year, $21 million deal, according to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport. The Ravens had to offer Bryant a multi-year deal in order to fit his number under the salary cap.

Since turning down their offer, the Ravens signed former Saints WR Willie Snead to a two-year, $10.4 million contract. 

Bryant will now have to wait until after the 2018 NFL Draft to work out a deal with an organization, if one is still searching for a wide receiver going in to the tail end of his career. 

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Ahead of NFL Draft, Ravens add to wide receiver corps with Willie Snead

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USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of NFL Draft, Ravens add to wide receiver corps with Willie Snead

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Receiver Willie Snead has bid farewell to the Saints, which means New Orleans apparently won't match the contract the Baltimore Ravens offered the restricted free agent.

Eager to add a target for quarterback Joe Flacco, the Ravens on Friday offered Snead a two-year, $10.4 million contract. The Saints had five days to match the deal. Snead indicated Monday on Twitter that he's headed out of New Orleans.

Snead tweeted: "What I'm going to miss most is the men in the locker room & the coaches."

He added: "Even though I'm sad to go, I'm even more excited for the next chapter in my life. I can't wait to strap it on as a Baltimore Raven."

Hampered by a three-game suspension and a hamstring injury, Snead was limited to eight catches for 92 yards last year.

In 2015, he had 69 receptions for 984 yards. He caught 72 passes for 895 yards in 2016.

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