Baltimore Ravens report card: Grading Michael Crabtree’s 2018

Despite being one of the flashier signings of the 2018 off-season, Michael Crabtree severely disappointed us. How did he grade out for his 2018 season?

The entire Baltimore Ravens fan-base rejoiced when the team opted to be aggressive during the 2018 off-season’s Free Agency period and sign a few wide receivers to the squad. Among these signings were John Brown, Willie Snead, and Michael Crabtree. The latter of the three was by far the flashiest move the team made. Crabtree was still considered to be an upper-echelon, receiver despite his age, thanks to his effectiveness in the red-zone. It was common belief that he could help truly stabilize Baltimore’s passing attack.

This was not the case, unfortunately, as Crabtree was a complete liability from time-to-time. Crabtree regularly struggled with drops and creating separation. Despite his resurgence in Oakland, it appeared Father Time had truly smacked Michael Crabtree across the face. Even his stat-line was depressing, as Crabtree reeled in just 54 passes for 607-yards and three touchdowns. His production slipped even further once Lamar Jackson took over at quarterback…

For such a disappointing season, it’s really hard to find any kind of promise moving forward. How did we grade the 31-year old receiver? Take a look…

MICHAEL CRABTREE

WR, Baltimore Ravens

D+

In Michael Crabtree’s first game as a Baltimore Raven, he was impressive and caught a touchdown on a fantastic catch-and-throw. Crabtree was brought into Baltimore for those reasons, as the team has been lacking a no.1 receiver for quite some time. It was a belief among many that Crabtree could fill that roll, if not for the length of his contract. Instead, Crabtree wound up being one of the worst free agent signings from 2018 and could be on his way out in Baltimore.
For starters, Michael Crabtree’s production was sporadic, and that’s not a good sign when you have as porous a season as he did. While Crabtree was O.K. with Joe Flacco under-center, he completely evaporated once Lamar Jackson took over. Saying that Crabtree experienced a significant decrease with Jackson at quarterback is an understatement, as Crabtree caught just 13 passes in seven games with Jackson at the helm. Obviously, this isn’t entirely his fault, as the passing game as a whole took a significant step backwards, but Crabtree was exposed as an older, ineffective receiver.
One of the biggest concerns when Michael Crabtree joined the Baltimore Ravens was his tendancy to drop passes. Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, Crabtree continued to struggle with drops throughout the 2018 season. Crabtree was a shell of his former Oakland Raiders self. The same receiver who had 25 touchdowns from 2015-2017 was now a complete non-factor for the Ravens passing attack.
To add insult to injury, Michael Crabtree’s contract already had us wondering about his future with the team, long-term. Now, Crabtree could very well find himself cut this off-season, should the team make more investments at wide receiver. Crabtree’s 2018 was severely underwhelming considering his contract, and it feels like Baltimore would be best to cut their losses. However, Crabtree will likely get a pass for his 2018 season and be brought back in 2019. It will be important to keep familiar faces around Lamar Jackson, and resigning John Brown isn’t a given. All-in-all, Michael Crabtree was one of the biggest disappointments of the 2018 season, but he’ll likely remain in Charm City for 2019.
Next: Joe Flacco vs. Nick Foles: Who is the more coveted avaiable quarterback?

At the end of the day, the Baltimore Ravens hole at wide receiver is not fixed with Michael Crabtree on the roster, nor is it solved without him. The Ravens would be best-suited to retain the veteran, but Crabtree is certainly a short-term answer at best. What the team does moving forward will be interesting, but there’s seemingly nowhere else to go but up for here for Michael Crabtree…

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