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Baltimore Ravens keep Robert Griffin III, waive Breshad Perriman

ESPN.com | Updated: 2018-09-02 05:00:16

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens went against the grain on Saturday, when they kept quarterback Robert Griffin III on their 53-man roster and waived wide receiver Breshad Perriman.

In releasing Perriman, it marked the first time the Ravens have parted ways with a first-round pick before his rookie contract expired.

In holding onto Griffin, it's the first time the Ravens have carried three quarterbacks in nine years.

The decision whether to keep Griffin was considered the biggest one of the offseason for the Ravens. Griffin had performed well enough to earn a spot, but rookie Lamar Jackson's improvement in the last two postseason games put Griffin's status in doubt.

After Thursday's preseason finale, coach John Harbaugh said there was "no doubt you want Robert Griffin on your team" and indicated he "looks like a starter to me."

Keeping Griffin gives the Ravens an experienced option to Jackson if Joe Flacco suffers an injury. He also serves as a good mentor to Jackson, whose playing style is more similar to Griffin than Flacco.

Griffin, 28, was decisive and efficient in the preseason, not looking like a quarterback who was out of the league last season. In four games (including two starts), Griffin was 27-of-41 passing (65.9 percent), throwing for 243 yards, two touchdowns and one interception (87.8 rating). But Griffin had a 30-yard touchdown pass dropped by Jordan Lasley, and his only interception came after the pass bounced off the hands of Perriman.

Griffin, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, signed a one-year, $1.1 million deal with Baltimore in March. The last time the Ravens carried three quarterbacks was in 2009, when they had Flacco, Troy Smith and John Beck.

"Not to quote Drake, but I'm going to quote Drake. I feel like I've been tried a lot in my career, but I'm resilient, for real," Griffin said Thursday.

Perriman, the No. 26 overall pick in 2015, managed 43 catches for 576 yards and three touchdowns in 27 games. He never eclipsed 65 yards receiving in any game.

The move comes two months after Baltimore had picked up Perriman's $649,485 roster bonus. He has the size and speed to become a playmaking receiver, but he has repeatedly had trouble with injuries and dropped passes.

This summer, Perriman showed flashes of improvement, leading the Ravens in receiving this preseason with 11 catches for 136 yards and one touchdown. But he lacked the aggressiveness to make contested catches, which surfaced again in the preseason finale.

The Ravens were expected to cut ties with Perriman. He was not among the top five wide receivers on the team and didn't contribute on special teams.

Staying healthy was the biggest problem early in his career. Perriman missed the entire 2015 season with a partially torn PCL in his right knee, and he was sidelined for all of training camp in 2016 with a partially torn ACL in his left knee.

Last year, Perriman was sidelined for all of the preseason with a hamstring injury before missing one regular-season game with a concussion. His troubles catching the ball and aggressively competing for passes dropped him behind Chris Moore as the team's No. 3 wide receiver and led to him being inactive for four of the final seven games last season.

Perriman received the worst grade among 116 receivers from Pro Football Focus last season. His dropped passes became such a problem that he was sarcastically booed by fans after making two catches in the last home game he played.

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