The Baltimore Ravens need help at wide receiver and seemed to find that Tuesday by agreeing to a deal with free agent Ryan Grant. But just two days later, the deal — an eyebrow-raising four-year, $29 million contract with $14.5 million guaranteed — was voided because Grant failed a physical.
Grant, 27, never missed a game in his four years in Washington, including a full 16-game season in 2017 with 45 receptions for 573 yards and four touchdowns. So a failed physical came out of left field and drew speculation that it may have been a case of buyer’s remorse for the Ravens.
He eventually landed with the Indianapolis Colts a week later, instead. Grant signed a one-year, $5 million deal after he passed the team’s physical.
Why do the Ravens say Grant was released?
Ravens team doctors flagged a nagging ankle problem for Grant that slowed him during the 2017 season but never sidelined him. According to general manager Ozzie Newsome, it was not something the team expected to find.
GM Ozzie Newsome on situation with WR Ryan Grant. pic.twitter.com/6c8MMrbb4p— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) March 16, 2018
“I did not get the results of Ryan’s physical until about 4 o’clock yesterday and some consultations between our doctors and other doctors around the country just to make sure,” Newsome said. “They came back that he did not pass the physical. It’s not a football decision. It’s a medical decision that I had no control over.”
And so the Ravens moved forward without Grant.
Grant’s agent says the ankle is a non-issue
A few times during the 2017 season, Grant popped up on the Washington injury report. He dealt with a concussion, a calf injury and then eventually an ankle problem in December. None cost him any playing time and he passed the team’s postseason physical.
So the Ravens apparently found an issue that nobody else — including the Colts and Raiders — seem to have much problem with:
Ryan Grant’s agent, Rocky Arceneaux, also said that his client has been working out, running routes and his ankle was cleared from a second opinion from Dr. Robert Anderson and is not an issue. Now it’s off to meet with the Colts.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2018
Free agent WR Ryan Grant, whose deal with Baltimore was nullified Thursday, is flying to Indianapolis to meet with the Colts, per his agent Rocky Arceneaux, who added that, “If there were a game tomorrow, Ryan would be able to play.”— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2018
Grant wouldn’t be a free agent much longer as he found another team that is more comfortable with his ankle than the Ravens were.
Why is there speculation the Ravens acted shady?
Baltimore didn’t have any reason to screw over Grant. If the team didn’t want to pay him, it didn’t need to sign him.
But giving Grant a deal that was worth more than $7 million per season was a little pricy for a player who still hasn’t cracked 100 receptions or 1,000 receiving yards in his career. The Ravens need receiver help, but the price tag was more than a little surprising.
So the conspiracy theories connect dots and say the failed physical could be a case of Baltimore changing its mind and wanting out of a hastily made decision. Especially when it coincided with the Oakland Raiders’ release of Michael Crabtree, who signed with the Ravens on Friday.
Newsome insists the Ravens would’ve been interested in bringing in Crabtree, regardless.
“As I stated early on, we were going to change the faces in our wide receiver room,” the Ravens GM said Friday. “If we would have signed Ryan [Grant], we still would have pursued Michael Crabtree.”
The situation with Ryan Grant is fishy. He has played all 16 games all four seasons of his career. He insists that he's healthy and his agent says a well-respected independent doctor will corroborate that. So on what basis do the Ravens say he failed his physical?— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) March 16, 2018
Newsome insists the decision to nullify the contract wasn’t made by football decision makers but by doctors. We may never know how true that really is.