Well, that escalated quickly. A few days ago, the Baltimore Ravens had a deal in place to sign wide receiver Ryan Grant to a 4-year contract worth up to $29 million, with $14 million guaranteed. To a lot of people, this was an odd contract to give to a player who just recently emerged last season by posting 45 catches, 573 yards, and 4 touchdowns, all career highs over his first four seasons.
The Ravens were paying him for what he could bring to the table and to progress even more from his 2017 campaign at 27 years old. While it was heavily questioned, it was an interesting and different approach by general manager Ozzie Newsome.
Now, it won’t be happening as Grant reportedly failed his physical, causing the Ravens to void his contract due to an ankle injury he suffered during the last game of the season a few months ago, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
On the other hand as a plus for Baltimore, they now get their money back from the deal, and can use it on other resources. While it is unfortunate to see this happen to any player, Baltimore could turn this into a blessing in disguise. The Ravens even restructured Brandon Williams’ deal earlier on Thursday, saving $5 million in cap space. Newsome is already working on spending this extra money by bringing in now former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree for a visit on Friday. The Raiders saved $7 million in cap space by cutting Crabtree after signing Jordy Nelson.
If the Ravens can get a deal done with Crabtree, he would be an upgrade over Grant, simply because of his resume and proven track record. Crabtree has scored eight or more touchdowns over the last three seasons in Oakland, for a total of twenty-five. He was a huge reason why Oakland made the playoffs for the first time since 2002 two years ago. Crabtree has been a big target for quarterback Derek Carr. While Crabtree carries baggage, a playmaker like him to pair with John Brown would be a good addition, and both have solid hands as well. The question of course, is how much will he cost after being released of his 4-year, $35 million deal he signed in Oakland?
It isn’t just Crabtree that the Ravens can use the money they got from Grant, and even Williams, they can use it to possibly find offensive line help, another receiver, or a tight end.
Tight end is something they really need to address, and the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec reported on Thursday that Baltimore was interested in Eric Ebron. He is currently taking visits to the Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, and potentially the New England Patriots. Other options could include the defense, if the team chooses to improve an area on that side of the ball. A 3-4 pass rusher like Willie Young could help the depth at the position, and can help get after the quarterback late in games.
Another addition to this is keeping a compensatory draft pick with the Grant contract not going through. Crabtree was released and if the team signs him, he doesn’t count towards a compensatory selection. Regardless, this Grant situation provides the Ravens with an opportunity. The Ravens just have to make sure they turn this negative, into a positive.