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Oakland Raiders will retain Michael Crabtree

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The Raiders will keep one of Derek Carr’s favorite targets

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens are not just in need of a wide receiver or two, but they need a guy who can go up and get the ball, and a player who can be a huge target in the red zone. Names have been brought up as potential options for Baltimore such as Jarvis Landry, Dez Bryant, Sammy Watkins and others to help assist this offense in 2018. Especially coming off nine drops in Week 17 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore knows they have to commit themselves to receivers and owner Steve Bisciotti made that clear earlier this month.

One of those possible options, who was previously rumored as a possibility to hit the open market, is Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree. League sources told The Athletic’s Vic Tafur that Oakland will indeed keep Crabtree on the 2018 roster with a new coaching regime led by head coach Jon Gruden.

It was originally speculated that Crabtree could be released by the Raiders, as he counted $7 million against Oakland’s cap space, but that is now reportedly out of the picture with the Raiders decision to keep him. Crabtree is coming off a down year in 2017, catching 58 receptions, 618 yards, and eight touchdowns. Only one season after an 89 catch, 1,000 yard campaign in the Raiders 2016 playoff year. Crabtree was also reportedly a headcase last year with former head coach Jack Del Rio to the point in which Crabtree only had seventeen snaps in the final game of the regular-season.

Quarterback Derek Carr vouched for his return, and with good reason. Despite having his numbers decrease in 2017, Crabtree has been a valuable target for Carr during the last three seasons since Crabtree signed in Oakland, scoring 25 touchdowns as a Raider, 24 of them coming with the Carr connection.

Crabtree being retained is yet another guy off the Ravens free agent board this offseason and he would’ve been a big target to get. Crabtree has revitalized himself in Oakland and would’ve been a perfect red zone target for quarterback Joe Flacco. The Ravens know Crabtree very well, over the last three years the Ravens and Raiders have met up in regular-season play, as Crabtree has caught 22 receptions for 281 yards and five touchdowns. That also includes a three touchdown performance at M&T Bank Stadium in 2016.

Along with Jarvis Landry, and possibly even Allen Robinson, Crabtree is yet another player who the Ravens will most likely have no shot of landing in this early stage of free agency.