Market for Recently Released WR Allen Hurns Already Heating up
The good news for the Ravens' "wide receiver project" is another appealing option just hit the street. The bad news is he's so appealing that there's a strong market for his services.
The Jacksonville Jaguars cut Allen Hurns Tuesday morning, and by Tuesday evening, he already had visits scheduled with the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets. Hurns told a Charlotte radio station that about 10 teams are interested in him.
The Jaguars freed up* *$7 million in cap space by cutting Hurns, who could fill the Ravens' need in the slot after they signed outside threats Michael Crabtree and John Brown last week.
"Unless Crabtree moves inside more frequently than he has in the past, a slot receiver remains on the Ravens' wish list with Hurns representing an intriguing option on the market," wrote WNST's Luke Jones.
"At 6-foot-3, he's not the prototypical slot guy, but he's been productive in that role and his big frame would be another good red-zone target for [quarterback Joe] Flacco."
Jones contends the most important move Baltimore can still make in remaking their receiver corps is to nail a high draft pick because there still isn't a prototypical No. 1 on the roster. But until they know they've nailed such a player, additions like Crabtree, Brown and another veteran like Hurns are needed as insurance.
Hurns had a breakout 2015 campaign, his second year in the league after coming in undrafted, with 1,031 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Injuries have derailed his progress since, as he's missed 11 games over the last two seasons.
The Jaguars had a hard time justifying his four-year, $40 million contract with just 484 yards and two touchdowns last year, but if he's healthy, there could be big upside for a team that signs him to a low-risk deal.
"He is certainly a solid receiver* *who would bring depth to Baltimore's receiving corps," wrote The Baltimore Beatdown's Logan Levy. "The question, as always, is cap space. Can the Ravens afford him?"
Reports haven't linked the Ravens to Hurns yet, but if they get into the mix, we've been recently reminded that a bidding war rarely works in their favor …
Ravens Offered More Money Than Panthers to Eric Ebron, But Colts Outbid Them All
Baltimore was reportedly interested in signing 2014 No. 10-overall pick Eric Ebron after he was cut by the Detroit Lions last week, but the tight end ended up signing with the Indianapolis Colts Monday.
Before visiting and signing with Indy, Ebron also visited the Carolina Panthers. Ebron didn't fly to Baltimore, but the Ravens apparently were still trying to strike a deal with his agent.
"Word is that the Ravens' offer to Ebron was a bit better than that extended by the Panthers, but obviously it fell short of the offer served up by Indianapolis," wrote Russell Street Report's Tony Lombardi. "With the Colts, Ebron will be the No. 2 tight end.
"It appears as if the former Tar Heel is more interested in the money. Sometimes the best deals are those you never complete. Losing Ebron might qualify as one of those deals."
Ryan Grant Signs One-Year Deal With Colts
After his pending four-year deal with the Ravens was voided for a failed physical, wide receiver Ryan Grant passed the Colts' physical and subsequently signed a one-year deal.
In speaking with reporters Tuesday, Grant said he saw multiple doctors and passed physicals with the Colts and Raiders.
Many say the optics look bad with Crabtree being released hours before Grant's pending deal was voided. But the timing was simply a coincidence, as we've already looked at facts that show connecting the two incidents doesn't hold up. The Ravens have been clear that they wanted both Crabtree and Grant.
But, the question remains: How can Grant fail a physical for one team but pass for another?
Dr. David Chao, a.k.a. @ProFootballDoc, who spent 17 years as a team head physician for the San Diego Chargers, shed light on the situation.
"It's rare. But it happens, and it is explainable," Chao wrote. "Each team has its own medical threshold. It is possible for two doctors to look at the same issue and one consider it to be a glass half-full and the other to see it as half-empty."
Chao says medical examinations are an art, not a science.
The Colts' recent diagnosis of quarterback Andrew Luck perfectly demonstrates this point. Luck has had a shoulder problem for two years despite Indianapolis repeatedly saying along the way that the issue wasn't major. One year into the problem, he finally had surgery, and the Colts said they expected him back midway through the 2017 season. Instead, he landed on injured reserve and missed all 16 games. Now, there are reports that Luck's 2018 campaign could be in jeopardy.
The Ravens understand that nagging injuries can turn into long-term problems. They endured setbacks with wide receiver Breshad Perriman when he was recovering from what was thought to be a relatively minor knee injury. It ended up costing him his entire rookie year.
With that context, the Ravens would rightfully want a glowing medical report on Grant's ankle, especially considering they reportedly offered $29 million with $14.5 million in guarantees for injury.
Meanwhile, the Colts passed Grant's physical with a one-year, $5 million deal on the line.
The risk wasn't in the same ballpark for the two teams.
"Of course, conspiracy theorists will say the Ravens had buyer's remorse," wrote Chao. "But would you still complete the purchase of a used car at the original price if your mechanic found an oil leak? The original team may say he played fine and we are not worried, just as the original car owner says the car drives fine. Meanwhile, the new team is worried about potential future problems like the car buyer worried about the oil leak turning into a bigger issue.
"Doctors' exams are subjective. It is possible that a real finding combined with slight buyer's remorse leads to failure, while a team over the moon with a signing might accept a potential medical risk."
Baltimore Has Produced a $67 Million Offensive-Line Factory
All the focus on the struggles at the wide receiver position shouldn't overshadow the fact that the Ravens develop starting offensive line talent at an astounding rate.
"Let me know if you've heard this one before: the Baltimore Ravens lost an offensive lineman in free agency to one of the biggest contracts in NFL history," wrote ESPN.
Last week, 2013 sixth-round pick Ryan Jensen cashed in the highest-paid check for an NFL center (four years, $42 million).
Last year, it was 2013 fifth-round pick Rick Wagner who got the second-highest average salary for an NFL right tackle ($9.5 million).
Two years ago, it was 2012 second-round pick Kelechi Osemele who got the most money for a guard in NFL history (five years, $58.5 million).
The three players combined for $67.9 million in guaranteed money.
"If the Ravens had enough cap room to keep all these players they coached up, Baltimore would have one of the best and toughest offensive lines in the NFL," ESPN wrote. "Instead of this continuity, the Ravens are looking to replace another offensive line draft pick who exceeded expectations.
"Baltimore still had one of the better lines in the league last season, but the Ravens could have a special one if not for other teams luring their young blockers elsewhere."
Full Breakdown of Crabtree's Contract, Which Could Be a One-Year Deal
More details of Crabtree's three-year deal have been released, which reveal that he has a manageable $3.3 million cap charge this year and ….
"[T]he contract could easily be interpreted as a one-year, $8 million pact because the 30-year-old will be due a $2 million roster bonus if he remains on the team on the fifth day of the 2019 league year," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.