On Monday, the Baltimore Ravens informed veteran wide receiver, Michael Crabtree, that he will be released. The Ravens signed Crabtree to a 3-year, $21 million contract in March of last year. The Ravens envisioned that Crabtree would lead the receiving corps and become a great target for Joe Flacco, and later Lamar Jackson. But Crabtree was not able to live up to these expectations. His short stint in Baltimore was marred with drops, and the Ravens saw more production from lesser paid receivers. John Brown and Willie Snead revealed that they were more important to the offense, while Crabtree led the league in drops with eight of them.
Michael Crabtree was due $9,333,333 in 2019, an amount that the Ravens could not sensibly pay. Crabtree did a lot to help the offense in 2018, but his failure to assume the role of primary receiver put his future in Baltimore in doubt. With Joe Flacco at the helm of the offense, Crabtree caught 41 passes for 472 yards. When Lamar Jackson took over, however, Crabtree only caught 13 passes for 135 yards. In the playoff game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Crabtree caught two touchdown passes for 38 yards total, but this success only came in garbage time. If Lamar Jackson is the future of the franchise, then Michael Crabtree is obviously incompatible with that future, especially with the cap hit he would have put on Baltimore.
By cutting Michael Crabtree, the Baltimore Ravens will save $4,666,665 and incur a dead cap hit of $4,666,668. The move adds more money to the offseason slush fund, which will now be directed to finding a new wide receiver. Most assumed Baltimore was in the market for a new receiver in the draft, and cutting Crabtree all but confirms the Ravens will seek out a high-end wide receiver in the early rounds.
The decision to cut Crabtree is one of many that Eric DeCosta must make this offseason. Other potential cuts include veteran safety Eric Weddle and cornerback Jimmy Smith. Baltimore can save $6,500,000 and $9,500,000 by cutting each player respectively.