Crabtree was informed of his release Monday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Signed to a three-year, $21 million contract last offseason, Crabtree was held to a woeful 6.1 yards per target in 2018, catching 54 passes for 607 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games. Team context in Baltimore may have been part of the problem, but John Brown and Willie Snead both had more yards on fewer targets. Coming off five straight seasons below 7.0 YPT, the 31-year-old wideout may find it difficult to land a surefire starting job. There are very few situations where Crabtree would warrant fantasy consideration beyond a late-round flier.
Crabtree may be released during the offseason, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic reports. Limited to a 54-607-3 receiving line and 6.1 yards per target in the first season of a three-year, $21 million contract, Crabtree isn't likely to make it to Year 2 of his deal. He did have a pair of touchdown grabs in a playoff loss to the Chargers, but he otherwise disappeared once Lamar Jackson replaced Joe Flacco at quarterback. While the 31-year-old wideout shouldn't have much trouble finding a home for 2019, his days as a lead target are probably numbered. A return to Baltimore likely would require accepting a pay cut.
Crabtree brought in two of four targets for 38 yards and two touchdowns in the Ravens' 23-17 wild-card loss to the Chargers on Sunday. Crabtree's numbers took a notable hit once Lamar Jackson took over under center during the latter portion of the season, but he reemerged in significant fashion during the Ravens' furious fourth-quarter comeback Sunday. The veteran possession man gained some rare separation down the right sideline on a 31-yard touchdown reception with 6:31 remaining, and he then came back to secure a seven-yard scoring dart from Lamar Jackson with just under two minutes left, bringing Baltimore within six points. Although they'd ultimately fall short in their bid to overtake the Chargers, it was an encouraging finish to the season for Crabtree, who'll look to develop further chemistry with his young quarterback during the coming offseason.
Crabtree caught 54 of 100 targets for 607 yards and three touchdowns in his first season in Baltimore. Compared to career norms, this was a disappointing campaign for the veteran receiver, especially in terms of touchdowns. Three touchdowns marked Crabtree's lowest total ever in a full season and he was coming off a streak in which he had at least eight scores in three straight years. Some of Crabtree's lack of production can be attributed to Baltimore's shift to a run-first offense under Lamar Jackson in Week 11, but that doesn't fully excuse his 6.1 YPT mark or his 9.1 percent drop rate. Crabtree is one year into a three-year, $21 million contract with $13 million guaranteed, so he'll likely be back with the team in 2019.
Crabtree caught one pass (four targets) for 20 yards in Saturday's 22-10 win over the Chargers. The only positive that can be said about Crabtree's performance is that at least he didn't go catchless like the week prior. The veteran, along with the rest of Baltimore's starting receiver corps, has seen his fantasy value almost vanish since Lamar Jackson took over as starter. The most you can hope for from Crabtree these days is that he can break free for a big score or see heavy usage around the goal line, neither of which has happened since Week 12 (21 yards and a touchdown). His fortunes are unlikely to change in Week 17's matchup with the Browns.
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