Another Blog About Michael Crabtree (but not one you've read)
Written by Curt Popejoy on 09/24/2009
I know, I know. Everyone and their dog is writing about Michale Crabtree. Or at least I assume they are. I honestly haven’t checked around, but I know how stories like this grow legs and right now the Crabtree saga is first and foremost on a lot of people’s minds. Not mine, but a lot of people.
To be completely honest, I am over Crabtree. Not because I no longer like him as a player, but I’m over the drama. According the Adam Schefter at ESPN, it is past any sort of deadline to trade Crabtree, and if he isn’t under contract with the San Francisco 49ers by the 19th of November, he cannot sign this year, and will go back into the draft. But there’s sort of loophole to that says next March 2010 they have a small window to try and trade him again, before the 2010 draft, where he’s be another prospect. Using all the math at my disposal, meaning my digits, that looks to be around 2 months to get him under contract or he’ll probably never be a Niner.
A couple of points I find fascinating in this before I give my perspective. The 49ers are winning. I’m not sure how(other than Frank Gore) but they are winning football games. This works against Crabtree and any sort of “you need me” angle he may be playing. Another observation is just how much the Texas Tech Red Raiders could have used him last Saturday against the Longhorns. You left friends on that team Crabtree to chance NFL millions. Crabtree’s image has take a big, albeit temporary nose dive in the eyes of football fans everywhere. The Niners appear to be absolutely content with the idea that Crabtree won’t be on the team. And finally, there are a lot of rookie wide outs in the league right now contributing to their teams.
Now, this all would lead one to believe I am going to just blast Crabtree for what he is doing. Surprise because I’m not. And here’s why.
I have no problem with Crabtree not wanting to be a Niner, and let’s be honest that’s what this is. It’s not about a few bucks in NFL terms. Crabtree doesn’t want to play for them. We all have to go to jobs we may or may not love. Crabtree is exercising his right to not go to a job he doesn’t want to. Is that such a bad thing?
Everyone is all over Crabtree because he was chosen by the Niners, and therefore he holds some sort of obligation to just do what they say. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The only side in this with any real obligation is the Niners front office to try and sign him. Oh, one point. I am very impressed with the Niner front office not to cave into Crabtree’s demands for fear of the backlash it would get from the league. But at the same time I am glad Crabtree is testing it.
There is no professional sports league where the players in it have less power than the NFL. This is because their business model is constructed around the tenant that no player is bigger than the league. Crabtree is making himself bigger than the league and even if he fails you have to appreciate what he’s trying to do. Make it a players league not a team league.
I fully expect Crabtree to end up back in the 2010 draft. I am not prepared to speculate about where he’ll be drafted, but I will be day one for sure. He’s too talented not to and great wide receivers are just too hard to find. No, he won’t be a top ten pick, but in all likelyhood he’ll end up on a pretty good football team. And he’ll get paid.
Oh, and what’s with all the chest thumping from former players chastising Crabtree? Rodney “roid” Harrison called him the biggest idiot in the NFL. He also said that he’s going to get blackballed. What a crock. When Michael Crabtree signs be it this year with San Fran, or next year somewhere else, his teammates will welcome him with open arms. It’s what we do. We forgive. We let sociopaths and murders on the field and welcome them in, they can do the same for Crabtree.
If I could have been Crabtree I’d have never tested the system like this. I’d have signed my contract and started playing football. But that doesn’t change the fact I admire what Crabtree is doing. The only way this doesn’t work out of him is if he’s unable to ever recoup the money he’s lost. Don’t kid yourselves folks, if Crabtree goes into next year’s draft, guys like Marshwan Gilyard and Dez Bryant will have a hard time ending up better than him. He’s incredibly talented and there’s no denying that.
I think where fans miss the boat on this is they don’t think about Crabtree playing football as his job. Put yourself in his shoes but use the job you have now. If you were offered another job, doing what you do now, but for a company you didn’t want to work for would you do it? I suppose it would defend. I think the assumption that everyone is operating on is, Crabtree needs the money. Apparently he doesn’t. So if the money isn’t na issue, he has every right to wait for the employeer he wants to hire him.
As for what I think will happen. I see almost no chance that Crabtree ends up signing with the Niners by the deadline, and there’s no way if he goes back in the draft, the Niners draft him so let’s put aside the thoughts of him being a Niner. A real possibility is next March the San Fransisco front office trades his rights to another team needing a wide out, and not wanting the talent on the market and not wanting to risk missing Crabtree in the draft. A final possibilty is no one bites and Crabtree becomes the top wide out in his second consecutive draft. Is he a first round pick if that happens? I suppose the talent around him in the first round will effect that some, but looking at who’s going to be on the board next April, I would fully expect him to be drafted in the first round. This isn’t a Bo Jackson situation we are talking about.
I understand why the NFL is in a panic about this. The league has always be aligned so that the league holds all the cards, and the players are just along for the ride. Crabtree could change some of that, especially with the potential of an uncapped year coming up.
Last Edited: 03/05/2010