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Five "glue guys" for Ravens who help keep things together

Five "glue guys" for Ravens who help keep things together

Every team has a few players who help keep things together. Call them “glue guys”. Sometimes they are stars. Sometimes they are players that get overlooked. Here are five players I view as “glue guys” for the Ravens:

Kamar Aiken, WR – He had almost 1,000 yards receiving last year, and played all 16 games. Yet, Aiken is being overlooked again in the wide receiver group. He shouldn’t be. We don’t know exactly how Steve Smith Sr., Breshad Perriman, and Michael Campanaro will recover from injuries. We don’t know how quickly Mike Wallace and rookie Chris Moore will assimilate into the offense. We don’t know how smoothly Keenan Reynolds will make the transition from Navy quarterback to NFL wide receiver. But we know Aiken is tough. We know Aiken can make catches lining up wide, and in the slot. Don’t be surprised if Aiken has another solid season.

Joe Flacco, QB – An obvious choice because of the importance of his position. But for the first time in his career, Flacco is coming off an injury, and a losing season. For the first time since 2012, the Ravens are beginning a season with the same offensive coordinator (Marc Trestman) that began the previous season in that role. The Ravens will need, and should expect, a strong season from Flacco – maybe his best.

C. J. Mosley, ILB – Since being a first-round pick in 2014, Mosley has played with the disposition of a veteran, making the Pro Bowl as a rookie. However, Mosley’s responsibility has increased with the departure of inside linebacker Daryl Smith to the Buccaneers. Mosley is the now the unquestioned leader of the linebacker group, and others like Zach Orr and rookie Kamalei Correa will count on Mosley for leadership.

Justin Tucker, K – Thanks to Tucker’s range and accuracy, the Ravens know if they get inside the opponent’s 40-yard line, they can almost count on three points, regardless of weather conditions. They also know Tucker delivers in the clutch.

Eric Weddle, S – He’s a new Raven, but Weddle is already asserting himself as the leader of the secondary. That’s exactly what the Ravens want. Too many mental mistakes in the Ravens secondary led to too many big plays allowed in 2015. If Weddle plays to the level he did most of his career with the Chargers, he could be their most important offseason pickup.


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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?