An argument with no intermediate conclusion:
If Baltimore were to bring back Michael Crabtree right now, it would be an absolutely terrible PR move. For starters, fans everywhere would be furious with the move. Crabtree was a complete flop in 2018 after signing a three-year $21 million contract with the team.
To say Crabtree was unreliable would be an understatement. Once Lamar Jackson took over as the team’s starting quarterback, Crabtree’s shortcomings were amplified. Sure, having a rookie quarterback with a raw arm doesn’t help, but as a veteran receiver you need to be able to step up and make plays to help the team anyways.
While Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox did mention that Marquise Brown’s Lisfranc injury could slow him down (literally and figuratively) and perhaps delay him from starting the season, a good and valid point, this still seems like an overreaction. For starters, there maybe no guarantees that Brown will start week one, but there’s also no guarantees he won’t. Bringing back Michael Crabtree before having this confirmation would be seen entirely as a panic move.
Additionally, the Ravens are clearly looking to establish a youth movement in the wide receiving core; something Knox did mention in his article, to his credit. Right now, the majority of the guys competing to make the team are 26-years old and under. While veterans like Willie Snead are safe bets to make the final roster, others like the aforementioned Michael Floyd could easily miss the cut. This would ring just as true for Michael Crabtree.
The argument that Crabtree is familiar with the Ravens offensive personnel is a weak one. For one, the offense will be changed and would require Crabtree to relearn a playbook that he clearly struggled with in 2018. Crabtree also lacks the explosiveness that this offense is going to be built around. The Ravens young trio of Lamar Jackson, Justice Hill, and Marquise Brown is fast to put it lightly, and will be looking to change the landscape of the entire league.
Baltimore also replaced Crabtree with rookie Miles Boykin. Boykin will play an eerily similar role to that of Crabtree in 2018, being the big-body receiver who will be a red-zone threat for Jackson. The difference is that Boykin will have to seriously try hard to fall short of his expectations, and any sort of success whatsoever would put him up to par with Crabtree’s entire 2018 season.
Simply put, bringing back Michael Crabtree is a bad move for a plethora of reasons. Sure, there’s some evidence and explanation to backup this claim, but the logic is easily crushed by larger facts.
Again, the point of this article wasn’t to insult Kristopher Knox in anyway, as I quite enjoy his work for Bleacher Report. However, the idea that the one move that the Baltimore Ravens need to make before the 2019 regular season starts is to bring back Michael Crabtree is asinine.