Michael Crabtree signs 3-year deal with Ravens

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This was all happening near the same time that the Ravens backed out of a deal that would bring wide receiver Ryan Grant aboard.

The signing is the Ravens' boldest move yet in their offseason overhaul of their receiving corps.

Newsome and the Ravens front office responded quickly to the Grant fallout, signing Crabtree to a three-year deal Friday after the veteran receiver spent the day at the Under Armour Performance Center meeting with team officials.

That's a pretty good deal for Baltimore when you recall the fact that they nearly handed out $29 million to Ryan Grant over four years - A $7.25 million-per-year average.

Crabtree suddenly found himself on the free market after the Oakland Raiders released him following the signing of wideout Jordy Nelson.

On what turned out to be the 49ers' last play in a 34-31 loss to the Ravens, Crabtree believes he was interfered with by cornerback Jimmy Smith, but the penalty was never called. "He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball".

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As for Grant, Newsome said, head coach John Harbaugh, receivers coach Bobby Engram and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg were on board with the deal.

The Ravens also have plenty other links to Crabtree.

"I always imagined myself being a Raven when I was little", Crabtree said.

A former first-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers, Crabtree has 579 catches for 6,870 yards and 51 touchdowns in 125 games (122 starts) across nine National Football League seasons. The fact that the Grant deal fell through perhaps gives the Ravens more urgency, but also gives them more money.

If Crabtree can produce significant dividends in 2018, then the Ravens' strategy will pay off in Ozzie Newsome's final year as Baltimore's general manager. Newsome said they have been in contact with agents for both.