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Ravens News 2/20: Draft plans, injury data, Crabtree contract and more

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

2018 NFL Draft: How free agency signings, trades have altered plans of all 32 teams - Chris Trapasso

Baltimore Ravens

Old Plan: Get a wide receiver, or four

New Plan: Get Joe Flacco help of some kind

On paper, the Ravens kinda/sorta addressed their need at wide receiver, although the addition of John Brown doesn’t alleviate the team’s issues at that position. Ryan Grant’s failed physical doesn’t exactly help either; then again, the initial contract he signed with Baltimore was one of the biggest head-scratchers early in free agency. Even with Michael Crabtree added, the wideout position should be addressed somewhat early in the draft, yet it’s more justifiable for Baltimore to lean offensive line in the first round. The re-signings of James Hurst and Matt Skura don’t change anything on that front. Georgia’s versatile offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn would be an underrated catalyst for offensive improvement, and Alabama’s sharp-route running wideout Calvin Ridley would provide an upgrade to the receiver group.

The Ravens essentially swapped the starting tandem of Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin for Michael Crabtree and John Brown. The new additions should be upgrades at the position, but the team still needs to flesh out their depth chart at wideout as well as tight end. Offensive line also remains a need since starters Ryan Jensen and Austin Howard both departed. All signs point to an offensive focused 2018 draft for Baltimore.

Weight and Injuries - Zach Binney

Weight and injury rates both vary by position. Specifically, linemen tend to be the heaviest players, and they also suffer lower injury rates due in part to what they are asked to do: less high-speed running and quick directional changes with fewer violent collisions. The table below shows injury rates by position from 2007-2015.

Most Injury-Prone NFL Positions, 2007-2015

Injury Rate per 1,000 AEs (Standard Error)

RB 20.7 (0.5)

DB 17.4 (0.3)

WR 17.1 (0.4)

LB 17.1 (0.3)

TE 16.9 (0.5)

DL 15.1 (0.3)

OL 12.8 (0.3)

QB 8.6 (0.4)

ST 4.4 (0.3)

Total 15.1 (0.1)

As expected, running back is the most injury prone position. Defensive back also ranking high on the list should come as no surprise for Ravens fans that have seen the position bitten by injuries for years. Binney’s examination also shows teams should load up on quality depth at wide receiver.

Breaking down WR Michael Crabtree’s 3-year, $21 million deal with the Ravens - Jeff Zrebiec

Crabtree, who was cut by the Oakland Raiders before signing the next day with the Ravens, has a $1 million base salary in 2018 and he’ll get a $7 million signing bonus.

His salary cap hit for the upcoming season is $3.3 million. That will leave the Ravens with about $10 million of remaining cap room going forward.

If he remains on the roster in 2019, Crabtree will have a base salary of $5 million. Three million of that is guaranteed for injury only. His base salary in 2020 will be $6 million.

Backloaded contract structures have become routine for the Ravens front office. Crabtree is due a $2 million roster bonus next March, if he is released before receiving the bonus the team would be on the hook for the remaining $4.7 million proration of the signing bonus.

Pittsburgh Steelers sign LB Jon Bostic to 2-year contract - Jeff Hartman

For those who don’t know, Bostic is a 26-year old linebacker who last played for the Indianapolis Colts, but has also played for the Patriots and Bears. He is coming off his best statistical season by totaling 97 total tackles and a sack for the hapless Colts last year.

Bostic is an inside linebacker by trade, and is a huge need for the Steelers in the absence of Ryan Shazier. As expected, the team adding a free agent linebacker would be in the cards, but don’t think the team won’t also address this need in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Bostic is a fast linebacker who does his best work in run defense. The Steelers needed to bolster the position due to Ryan Shazier’s unfortunate injury. With Shazier sidelined during the Week 14 matchup last season, the Ravens managed 413 yards and scored 38 points, in large part due to attacking Pittsburgh’s vulnerable inside linebackers.