Crabtree to start for 49ers?

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat is reporting that there’s a strong possibility that first round pick Michael Crabtree will start this week when he makes his NFL debut against the Texans. He would replace Josh Morgan while Isaac Bruce will remain at flanker.

There’s a good chance that Crabtree won’t have much of an effect on the Niners’ offense for at least a couple of weeks. They’ll remain a run-first team and Morgan will still see plenty of playing time considering he’s San Fran’s best run-blocking receiver.

The question I have regarding Crabtree is what kind of an affect he’ll have on the team’s locker room. Considering he held out for five weeks, he couldn’t have endeared himself to his teammates. And now at the first opportunity, he’s being thrust into the starting lineup.

With that in mind, Mike Singletary wouldn’t make a move like this if he knew he’d lose the locker room. He has the respect of his players and they trust his decisions. If he thinks that starting Crabtree gives his team the best chance to win, his players will follow.

Why not see if the rookie can sink or swim right away?

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Crabtree, 49ers agree to deal

According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, the 49ers and Michael Crabtree have agreed to a six-year deal after his agent Eugene Parker had a face-to-face meeting with the team’s vice president of football operations Paraag Marathe on Wednesday morning.

Contract details weren’t immediately released, but Glazer reports that the deal can be voided after five years if Crabtree has “two very good years among his first four.” If he doesn’t, he’ll make $4 million in the sixth year.

If the final contract numbers are similar to the Niners’ first offer of five years, $20 million with $16 million guaranteed, then this was a massive fail by Parker. In the end, he essentially advised Crabtree to holdout for all of training camp and four weeks of the season only to receive the same contract that he would have had if he signed in the offseason. Only now, Crabtree gave up four-plus games of his career and is now behind the eight ball in trying to get that final year voided.

This will go down as one of the all-time agent blunders. The arrogance of Parker to think that he could command more money than the draft slot his client was taken in is outright laughable. And if other athletes were paying attention to how this all went down then Parker also cost himself future clients with his stupidity.

Moving forward, Crabtree probably won’t see the field for the next couple weeks as he attempts to get caught up on the playbook and back into playing shape. He probably won’t make an impact in his first year, which is another thing he can thank Parker for.

Eugene Parker cost Michel Crabtree, at the very least, half of his first season. The kid could have gotten better advice from a dead squirrel lying on the side of the highway.

Crabtree’s fantasy value? In most leagues, he doesn’t have much. Rookie wide receivers don’t usually make a splash their first year, and Crabtree has missed all of training camp and the first four games of the regular season, so he is WAY behind. That said, if you’re in a keeper league with big rosters, Crabtree does have some value. If you have a place to stash him and he becomes a decent threat for the 49ers late in the season, then he would be an asset heading into the summer. Obviously, Crabtree has a lot of value in dynasty leagues.

Crabtree, 49ers to renew contract discussions reports that wide receiver Michael Crabtree has agreed to reopen contract discussions over the 49ers.

Eugene Parker, Crabtree’s agent, is scheduled to arrive in San Francisco on Tuesday. Parker declined comment when reached.
Niners coach Mike Singletary said Monday that he would still like to have Crabtree play for the team this season.

“Any guy that can play and help us win, I would never say, ‘No, we don’t need him,'” Singletary said. “We need all the good football players we can get.”

Crabtree, the 10th overall selection in April’s draft, is the only unsigned first-round pick. He has missed the first four weeks of the regular season.

I don’t think Crabtree is dumb. I think he got dumb advice from his dumb agent who only now realizes how bad a mistake he’s made with his client’s future. If I were Crabtree, I’d fire Parker immediately to ensure he doesn’t screw this deal up even more than he already has.

Parker and Crabtree played Russian roulette and lost. At 3-1, the 49ers have proven that they don’t need him to win and had Crabtree held out any longer, I’m sure the front office was thinking about cutting their losses and using that money to re-sign players like Patrick Willis.

This is a win-win situation for the 49ers. If Parker balks and Crabtree continues to holdout, then San Fran can use the money elsewhere and remove themselves from the situation. If Crabtree signs, then Mike Singletary can get his big paws around his young receiver’s neck and strangle some sense into him.

Either way, this is a positive for a Niner team that has a lot of hope building on this young season.

An Open Letter to Michael Crabtree

The Washington Post asked me to participate in their NFL blog “The League” for the 2009 season. Below is a recent post I wrote for the site regarding Michael Crabtree’s contract holdout.

Mr. Crabtree,

I’m writing to you not as a professional adviser, your friend or even as someone who has your best interests at heart. I don’t know you, so I’d be lying if I said I had any kind of personal stake in your career.

But viewing this as an outsider, I have to warn you that you’ve been getting some bad advice somewhere along the way. I’ve been keeping track of your situation in San Francisco and I’ve got to tell you, you could be making one of the biggest mistakes of your life.

You see, you need to show more humility, Mr. Crabtree. Your agent came to the conclusion a long time ago that you were a top 3 pick and, thus, should be paid as such. But you weren’t a top 3 pick – you were the 10th overall pick and while that should have motivated you to prove yourself on the field, you’ve shown that you’re more concerned with money than with playing football.

That’s disappointing to me. As a sports fan, I appreciate it when athletes don’t hold out and they accept market value for their services. I appreciate it when they prove their worth on the field and allow the money situation to take care of itself.

Read the rest at the Washington Post’s The League.

Jets accused of tampering with Crabtree

According to a report by the New York Daily News, the 49ers have filed tampering charges against the Jets for contacting Michael Crabtree’s agent.

Although the specifics aren’t known, it’s not hard to connect the dots. Crabtree, the 10th overall pick in the draft, is threatening to sit out the season and reenter the draft in 2010. The 49ers may believe the Jets contacted Crabtree’s agent, Eugene Parker, to let him know they’d be interested in trading for his rights, or in drafting him in 2010 with a better salary than the 49ers are offering. The NFL’s trade deadline is Oct.20, while the 49ers must either sign Crabtree by Nov.19, or surrender his rights, putting him back into the draft pool for 2010.

Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, approached after yesterday’s 16-9 win over the Patriots, declined to comment. Tannenbaum has a good relationship with Parker. In 1998, they collaborated on a complicated offer sheet that helped pry Curtis Martin, then a restricted free agent, away from the Patriots.

Teams can be fined money and/or docked draft picks if found guilty of tampering.

If the report is true, how could the Jets be so stupid? They know that in tampering, they stand to lose a draft pick and for a team that is on the rise, that could obviously be damaging. I know they need a receiver, but going about it this way is a risky endeavor.

That said, we’d all be naïve to think that general managers don’t talk to agents about players that are on other teams. Most agents represent multiple players, so if a player is set to become a free agent or is unhappy with his current situation, the agent is likely to talk to other general managers in order to gauge their interest. So I don’t doubt that Eugene Parker and Mike Tannenbaum had a discussion about Crabtree, although it might be hard for the 49ers to prove that there was any tampering going on.

Nevertheless, this is an interesting situation and I’m sure one that will pick up steam over the next couple weeks. What a mess this has been for the 49ers.

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