Tuesday was a day filled with dashed dreams for Ravens fans, watching WR after WR get big money deals from other teams, while the most WR depleted team in the league stood pat, waiting on their move, apparently. It seemed like the Ravens had made a small, yet sensible move, when they agreed to a 1 year deal with John Brown, but it looked like the smart move was going to be to look to the draft for the biggest WR help..
But, just a few hours later, a new name dropped in. Former Washington Redskin Ryan Grant agreed to a 4 year deal with the Ravens. The deal is for 29 million, clocking in at $7.25 million APY, with $13 million in guarantees, with $3 million more as incentives. While certainly not the large money deals that got handed out to big WRs like Sammy Watkins and Allen Robinson, that APY and guaranteed money shows this is a serious contract that clearly puts Grant in a starting WR spot on the 2018 Ravens.
So first….who is Ryan Grant? I had seen the name pop-up here and there in fantasy football play, but nothing really stood out in my mind. Grant is a 2014 draft pick from the 5th round out of Tulane. At 6’0” and 199 pounds, he’s an average sized WR. His career stats are modest, with 985 yards receiving and 6 TDs over 4 years, but most of those came in 2017, as he nabbed 573 yards and 4 TDs. The Ravens are clearly hoping that his 2017 was just a sample of what is to come with more targets and snaps. Grant has never eclipsed 100 yards in a game, and his 2014 and 2016 seasons were along the lines of 2017 Breshad Perriman futility.
So with that information…is this a good deal? Uhhhh, I still don’t get it? Grant’s numbers would’ve been good enough for 2nd on the Ravens in 2017, but he was the 3rd best receiving option on the Redskins last year behind Jamison Crowder and Vernon Davis. He averaged about 51% catch rate his first 3 years in the league, though he posted a much nicer 69% in 2017. He averages about 10 yards per catch, and only had 229 yards after the catch in 2017. One thing that Grant can trumpet is durability, as he’s played in every single game in his 4 years in the league. Essentially, the Ravens are paying 13 million in guarantees and 7.25 million per year for a possibly good #2 WR who didn’t show anything to justify that salary in his first 3 years. It’s almost like the Ravens saw all those receivers get signed to big money deals, got scared of missing the frenzy, and decided to throw the same contract to the first WR who would say yes to them. For what it’s worth, the takes from Redskins fan sites praise Grant as a likeable player, a good route runner, and credit his play in 2017 as a reliable target, but even they are incredulous at how much the Ravens are overpaying a guy who is a year removed from being a throwaway roster spot.
The only caveat would be if this is like a Brandon Carr deal, where the Ravens have team options after each year to basically allow them to walk away from the deal if Grant doesn’t perform like his 2017 version. I’m as hopeful as anyone else that Grant plays every game and catches better than the 2017 Ravens options, but I just don’t understand why they paid this kind of money to such an unproven player. Did Ozzie scout Grant and longingly wish they had taken him in 2014? That’s the only thing I can come up with, why they are willing to stake the kind of money more proven WRs like Richardson got. For now, this sure seems like a headscratcher of a move from Ozzie and a real desperate gamble.
Prove me wrong, RG. Please, prove me wrong.