If you blinked, you might’ve missed it but, Ryan Grant was almost a Baltimore Raven. It was reported on Tuesday that Grant would sign for $29 million, over four years, with $14 million guaranteed. Two days and a failed physical later, that contract has been voided.
It’s probably a blessing in disguise for Baltimore. It was an overpayment for a fourth-year wide receiver who doesn’t have 1000 yards total. Last season was Grant’s best as a pro. He had 45 catches, 573 yards, and just four touchdowns. Presumably, the Ravens were paying him for what they thought he could do in a bigger role than he had in Washington. Paying a 27-year-old receiver based on potential doesn’t seem like a good idea. Maybe it would’ve worked out but that’s a big risk for a guy with 84 career receptions.
Plenty Of Fish Still In The Sea
There are better options still on the market. Guys like Jordan Matthews and Terrelle Pryor are still available. Pryor has only been playing the wide receiver position for two seasons and has much better career stats. Matthews is younger with much more potential. He showed potential at Vanderbilt en route to setting the Southeastern Conference records for career receptions and receiving yards.
The most intriguing guy on the market is Michael Crabtree. He was recently cut by the Oakland Raiders, as they replaced him with Jordy Nelson. Crabtree is a proven commodity. He’s had multiple 1000 yard seasons, and he’s a big physical red zone target. His ability to make contested catches is something the Ravens haven’t had since Steve Smith retired. He’s one of two receivers to catch eight touchdowns in each of the past three seasons. Crabtree is already scheduled to meet with Baltimore, and signing him would be a much better use of the cap space that was about to be used on Grant.
The Ravens desperately need to improve their receiving corps but Crabtree would only be one piece to the puzzle. In a perfect world, they’d be able to sign Crabtree and a tight end. Due to a lack of funds, the Ravens would be forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel. There they’d find a guy like Julius Thomas. He has a ton of talent but he’s been injured a bit and hasn’t quite lived up to expectations since his time with the Denver Broncos. There’s no guarantee that he’d live up to his potential in Baltimore, but it probably wouldn’t cost much to find out. At six feet and five inches tall, Thomas would be a huge target for Joe Flacco who loves to throw to his tight ends.
Grant may end up being a productive receiver but, it won’t happen in Baltimore. The ankle injury found during his physical might’ve saved the Ravens from making a big mistake. If they could somehow walk away from this with a proven receiver like Crabtree and, a tight end that won’t break the bank then this whole situation would truly be a blessing in disguise.