Wide receiver Ryan Grant was due $29 million, with $14 million guaranteed. The deal was agreed upon by both sides, pending a physical.
But suddenly, the deal fell through, due to the second part of the previous sentence.
Fans joked about it the day before, as the majority of not only Ravens fans, but football fans as a whole, believed this contract to be a reach. In fact, I wrote an article about this contract specifically:
Now the jokes and comments became reality, and the timing couldn’t look worse for Ozzie Newsome and the Baltimore Ravens. Right about the time of the physical, WR Jordy Nelson signed with the Oakland Raiders, leaving the franchise to cut WR Michael Crabtree. The Ravens were interested in Nelson, but Crabtree is another player they’d love to acquire. Also, TE Eric Ebron was a name many linked to Charm City. Now, the Ravens are failing a players physical, and their cap space once again capable of signing a player of greater caliber. Many are now questioning if this move was honest. Did Grant fail his physical for an injury concern or was it due to Crabtree’s release and the backlash from the overpay?
As I’ve mentioned previously, I believe the Ravens failed Ryan Grant’s physical honestly. I believe this for multiple reasons:
First, Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta, Steve Bisciotti and the entire Ravens franchise isn’t known for mischievous acts. Steve Smith Sr., Torrey Smith, Ray Lewis and an uncountable amount of former players will vouch to the integrity of these leaders, this team. This isn’t the Ravens MO.
Second, the aforementioned names do not care about the backlash or responses to a contract from Twitter, Facebook or social media as a whole. If they did, the Ravens would have made a million signings. DeMarco Murray cut? Sign him! Richard Sherman cut? Sign him! Sign everybody and just find the cap space later!
Also, the Ravens were seeking out Jordy Nelson before the failed physical and after the initial agreement. They would attempt the same to acquire Crabtree. The sudden cut of Crabtree does not prove the Ravens failed Grant.
Finally, my most compelling reason for my confidence in the Ravens: Zachary Orr. The team doctors with the Ravens were checking out the linebackers spine after a herniated disc injury. They then sent him to a spine specialist, where he received the news.
“The only reason I was even there was because I had suffered a herniated disc a couple of weeks earlier against the Steelers on Christmas Day. The injury ended my 2016 season, so the Ravens team doctors wanted to look at my spine to see what was happening. That was when they found something they hadn’t expected — “a serious cause for concern,” they called it.” — Zachary Orr, Always a Raven, Aug 2017
The team doctors held back their budding star linebacker; a player within their system, after an incredible season, capped off with All-Pro recognition. For the team doctors, if ever there was a time to bend the truth, to break their Hippocratic Oath, it was in that moment. But they didn’t then, and I am confident they didn’t bend the truth in this circumstance.
I understand these are different scenarios. For Zachary Orr, his risk of death upon the gridiron was heightened due to the injury. This detrimentally affects the Ravens franchise, from top to bottom. On the other hand, Ryan Grant is not on the team yet. The severity of Zachary Orr, in comparison with Ryan Grant, is heavily disproportionate. But once more, the honesty and straight-shooting of the team doctors thus far, helps to indicate they wouldn’t become dishonest now.
This team—this franchise, has done nothing but demonstrate honest values. Ozzie Newsome is a highly-respected individual. The Ravens’ team doctors have no reason to fail Ryan Grant; they understand the dilemma of lying about his ankle issues, forcing him to fail his physical. A lie of this magnitude, with millions of dollars on the line, is incredibly serious. If it was a lie, and Grant pushed for an investigation in which it was proven that the ankle injury was fabricated because a front office member requested they find a way to fail him, they’d all lose their jobs, and the league could strike down upon the Ravens. I don’t believe the Ravens risk all this because media outlets called the deal a reach, or an overreaction. I don’t see Ozzie in a panic, running down to the facility, pausing the physical and requesting a team physician to fail Ryan.