“Remember, this is Kyle’s first solo bartending shift tonight. Don’t shy away from asking your guests if they’d enjoy drinks this evening, just understand they may be a moment slower than the experienced bartenders,” said my general manager, earlier yesterday, during pre-shift.
*Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding-Ding-Ding-Ding!*
“What on Earth is going on,” I ask to myself, checking my cellphone, which shouldn’t be in my pocket pre-shift.
There is a holdup in the expected $29M deal between the #Ravens and WR Ryan Grant, source said. They found something in the physical that concerned them given the level of guarantees they committed to him. That is why he has not signed his deal.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 15, 2018
WR Ryan Grant, who reached agreement with Baltimore on a $29 million deal, failed his physical and his Ravens deal is null and void, per sources. Grant will have to find another deal with another team willing to pass him on his physical.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2018
“You must be joking,” I say. “Hey boss, I gotta take this.”
Thankfully, Logan Levy, one of Baltimore Beatdown’s Editors, covered the report and Evan Mazza answered the question all Baltimore Ravens fans were asking themselves.
Now, Ravens fans are hoping for the following:
- WR Michael Crabtree joins the Ravens
- TE Eric Ebron signs with Baltimore
I’m all for the Ravens acquiring more skill-position players, but this null-and-void deal has me wondering something more important; Are the Ravens now pinned against this failed deal?
NFL teams hold a great deal of power and leverage. They dole out contracts and jobs to players. It’s hard for players to hold more power than the teams’ themselves. For example, Aqib Talib was traded due to a high cap hit and the Broncos capability of losing him as an asset. Tyrann Mathieu was cut due to not accepting a paycut. Richard Sherman, a Super Bowl champion and four-time All-Pro was cut due to money and health. For the Ravens, Danny Woodhead and Jeremy Maclin were in the same boat. It’s less common for players to have the leverage, but Ravens fans know this does occur, see: Flacco, Joe.
But after Ryan Grant’s deal fell through, do players now hold leverage when discussing contracts with the Ravens, specifically offensive pass-catchers? Every player on a visit, whether it is Ebron, Crabtree, Grant or current free agent Mike Wallace, all players now possess benchmark to point towards.
First, I’ll state my opinion of no, I don’t believe the Ravens denied Ryan Grant due to the agreed upon contract. A dirty move like denying a player a contract due to realizing it’s a bad deal is not only wrong, but flashes a warning signal to all free agents for years to come. Also, I highly doubt Ozzie Newsome and Steve Bisciotti care what Twitter thinks. The Ravens wanted Ryan Grant, hence the deal they agreed upon.
Furthermore, I’d also like to point towards the words of Jeff Zrebiec, beat writer for The Baltimore Sun:
No question. He and under potential salary cap cut WRs were on their radar. They were going after Jordy Nelson even after they thought they were adding Grant, Brown— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) March 16, 2018
It's obviously going to be scrutinized and it's fair to say it's not a good look. I'll be called a homer for saying this, but I do think they'll get benefit of doubt because they don't have a history of this and Ozzie/Steve/Eric don't give a damn if their deals are criticized— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) March 16, 2018
Getting back to my point though, I believe this move hurt the Ravens for two reasons.
First, the Ravens just worried every player who deals with their front office and team doctors. The deal isn’t finalized until after a full examination, and a player with four healthy NFL seasons just failed a physical for an ankle issue. Players are certainly less confident in dealing with Baltimore now.
Second, the deal itself. Ryan Grant was guaranteed $14 million once the pen hit paper. Certainly Mike Wallace, Crabtree, Ebron and others would enjoy $14 million. This is now a benchmark for players to use as leverage for a deal with Baltimore. If not $14 million, how much are the Ravens willing to shell out for a different receiver? During contract discussions, this will be an advantage for agents and athletes.
Hopefully this does not hurt the Ravens in signing any other free agents, but this certainly is unique. I do believe, however, the reputation of Ozzie Newsome, Steve Bisciotti and the franchise as a whole, will prove more trustworthy than the sudden issue of a failed physical.