Continuing to waste no time in getting to work in his first offseason as Ravens GM, Eric DeCosta made another move today, releasing WR Michael Crabtree.
Ravens informed veteran WR Michael Crabtree that he is being released today, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 25, 2019
RSR Staff react to the move here:
— Crabtree was largely a disappointment, finishing with 54 catches for 607 yards and three touchdowns. The dropped passes were especially troublesome.
— The Ravens create $4.7 million in cap space but also have the same amount in dead money with the move. So, this was likely a personnel decision and not a salary dump.
— Eric DeCosta will have to find a replacement for Crabtree and possibly John Brown via the draft or free agent market. One name being linked to the Ravens is Golden Tate, who would become an unrestricted free agent, barring a franchise tag.
— New OC Greg Roman said it’s important for the team to add receivers who are also adept at blocking to help the running game.
A head-scratcher to me. Check out Adam’s piece from last month for a longer explanation of why it would have made sense to keep him. Basically, there aren’t a lot of great free-agent options. Plus, you’re going to have a hard time convincing FA WRs to come here with a run-first offense. Why cut a guy who has no choice but to go out there and run routes for you, and who is on a decent-value deal?
Still, I’m willing to give DeCosta more rope here than I would have given Ozzie in the same situation. With Oz, you just knew a move like this would be to create space to sign another big-money defender. This may be just that – a prelude to re-signing Mosley, or paying a big-money pass rusher, etc. But it may not be. Let’s see what his plan is. On first blush though, a head-scratcher, like I said.
This was a difficult situation. On one hand, Crabtree was a major disappointment and didn’t live up to the hype. On the other hand, it leaves Jordan Lasley, Chris Moore, Jaleel Scott, Willie Snead, and Quincy Adeboyejo (ERFA) as the team’s WR group under contract. This means the Ravens are now missing two starters…again. Maybe they do what they did last year and go after two guys, but it does remind meof 2013, and this could be the worst WR grouping the team has had – without some major additions.
You have to think De Costa has something up his sleeve to address WR. It’s now on top of my offseason need list with interior OL and pass rush rounding out the top three.
I think most people realized that Crabtree getting cut was very likely. His final game as a Raven almost made me think he could’ve saved his job. When you look his entire body of work this year and the large number of drops, it was clear he wasn’t worth his contract. Credit to him for being a true team player though that he never complained about the Lamar offense where he wasn’t seeing many targets.
Then again as many drops as he had, he didn’t have much right to complain.
DeCosta has made another smart decision here in my opinion. I look forward to seeing what else he has up his sleeve this offseason because there are many decisions to make. The futures of Suggs, Weddle, Jimmy, Carr, Mosley etc. are all up in the air.
Decent player, not worth the money. He was one of the league leaders in drops, which was more surprising considering he didn’t have a lot of balls thrown his way in general. The trend I am starting to see with Decosta is that in an effort to get younger quickly, you purge any aging cap casualty guys to see what you have with your current core. Let’s give the guys we have on the roster now (even though we didn’t see much to give us hope) a chance to play and see what the best course of action is. The Ravens are going to take a step backwards next year, and that is okay. You have to craft a better offense with Lamar, but you don’t want to deny any possible talent you have now.
Crabtree had a 54% catch rate to go with only 3 TDs. His ability to make contested catches, which had been waning in Oakland in 2017, was almost gone in 2018. The Ravens need play-extenders to go with Jackson’s mobility. While Crabtree has some ability to use his body to create some space, the Ravens TEs are better suited to do so.
This was not a tough or unexpected call. Some team is likely to give him another chance, but I’ll be surprised if he has another contract in excess of 2 years.