The Baltimore Ravens' unyielding effort to land a big-play receiver finally paid off Friday when nine-year veteran Michael Crabtree signed a three-year contract.
Hours after disclosing that the Ravens voided the contract of Washington Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant following a failed physical Jarran Reed Jersey , general manager Ozzie Newsome landed Crabtree, who played the past three seasons with the Oakland Raiders.
Crabtree toured the Ravens' complex Friday morning and signed in the late afternoon.
"I always imagined myself being a Raven when I was little," Crabtree said. "I came here, loved it and signed on the dotted line."
In two games over the past two years with Oakland, the former 49ers star scorched Baltimore for 13 catches for 170 yards and four touchdowns.
Facing the Ravens in the 2012 Super Bowl, Crabtree had five receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown for San Francisco in a 34-31 loss.
"Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game," Newsome said. "He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field."
The 30-year-old Crabtree played six seasons with San Francisco before joining the Raiders. He has 579 career receptions for 6,870 yards and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games.
The 6-1 Sheldon Rankins Jersey , 215-pound Crabtree has totaled at least 85 catches in a season three times, including a career-high 89 in 2016. He has twice surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in a season.
Crabtree joins former Arizona receiver John Brown as new potential targets for quarterback Joe Flacco, who directed a lackluster passing attack that last year ranked 27th in the NFL.
Almost as soon as the Ravens cleared out their lockers following a 9-7 finish in 2017, Newsome set out to improve the weakest facet of a team that's missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons.
"If you dial it back to a year ago, we talked about how we wanted to get our defense stronger, and we did that. Then we said we wanted to run the football and we were able to do that," Newsome said Friday morning, speaking with Brown at his side. "The next piece is to get a better passing game. If we give Joe some weapons, and we improve in the passing game, maybe that will be enough to help us get over the hump."
Newsome said he withdrew Grant's four-year contract offer following the exam and after consulting with team doctors and outside physicians.
"That's not a football decision," Newsome said. "That's a medical condition that I have no control over."
Though Grant never missed a game in his four years with the Redskins Kyle Juszczyk Jersey , Newsome said the physical found an issue with his ankle.
"We knew he had had an ankle injury in the latter part of the season with the Redskins," Newsome said. "But he had passed their postseason physical, so we had no indication that it could have been there."
Brown played four seasons with Arizona before signing a one-year contract this week with Baltimore.
"The thing about John is, he can take the top off of the defense," Newsome said. "A lot of times when you go with a vertical receiver, they have a very limited route tree. John does not. John can run every route in the route tree. The other aspect of this that attracted John to us is that we feel like his best football is still in front of him."
Brown, two years removed from a 1,000-yard season, expects to ring up big numbers with Baltimore.
"I felt like this was the best fit for me," he said. "They like to use a lot of receivers with speed. I feel like I can come in and help this team."
Newsome said he "has not closed the door" on re-signing receivers Michael Campanaro and Mike Wallace, and has been "having conversations" with several tight ends.
The Pittsburgh Pirates might want to scratch out a scouting report on Brent Suter — as a hitter — before their series finale Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park.
Suter is strong enough on the mound. The left-hander is 7-4 with a 4.30 ERA going into his expected start against the Pirates, and over his past six starts he is 5-1 with a 3.24 ERA.
That includes a 13-2 win over Philadelphia Friday Demetri Goodson Jersey , when Suter allowed one run and six hits while tying a career high with seven innings pitched. But he seemed more excited about what he did at the plate in that game.
Suter drove in a run after being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, reached on an error and singled in a run in his three plate appearances against the Phillies.
“I feel locked in at the plate,” he said. “I’m a little late on fastballs, but I’m seeing the ball well. I’m seeing offspeed down. Any way you can help your team win is a good way to help your team win.”
Suter is 3-for-10 since he hit a 433-foot homer off American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber May 9. He was 4-for-28 before that, including 1-for-8 this season.
“There’s a confidence there,” Suter said. “Hitting is one of my favorite parts. I love hitting. I’ve loved it my whole life. Even when I’m struggling, I still like going up there and trying to whack it.”
As for his “day job,” Suter will be trying to help the Brewers (43-30) take the series and keep hold of first place in the National League Central.
Milwaukee won 3-2 Tuesday to end a three-game losing streak.
Pittsburgh (36-37) had won four of five before Tuesday and will be trying to win its second straight series after losing eight in a row.
Suter will oppose Pittsburgh right-hander Chad Kuhl (5-4, 3.76 ERA).
In his past five starts, Kuhl has allowed eight earned runs in 30 1/3 innings. Over his past eight starts, he has a 2.89 ERA.
Part of his recent success is tied to mixing in a lot of breaking balls.
“It’s a heater-hunting league, especially when you throw a hard heater. Guys are trying to hit the heater Tanoh Kpassagnon Jersey , it’s no secret,” Kuhl said. “Throwing that 1/8slider 3/8 a ton. Feel really comfortable with it. It’s gotten me out of some really big jams, gotten me some strikeouts and some early action. It kind of does both for me. Just being able to throw that in any count has been huge.”
Against Milwaukee, Kuhl is 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA, and the Pirates are 6-0 in his starts. This season, he gave up one hit and tied a career high with eight strikeouts over seven scoreless innings May 6 in a 9-0 win.
“When you know you’ve had success and remember some pitches that may have worked for you, you’re able to use that to your advantage, but every game is different,” Kuhl said.
Suter is 1-0 with 1.80 ERA in eight games — three starts — against the Pirates.
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