Who gave in — Crabtree or the 49ers?

NINER NOISE poses that very question.

Who gave in? Crabtree of course. McClouhan at no point gave into the demands of Crabtree and his inner circle. He said the offer is what is, take it or leave it. He did not receive the money he was looking for and the 49ers gave him more money in guarantees than originally offered but it was lower than the 9th pick B.J. Raji’s $18 million and higher than the 11th pick, Aaron Maybin, received which was $15 million.

No one will really know why Crabtree decided to sign. Was it the 3-1 start by the Niners? Was it the Jets trading for WR Braylon Edwards and him thinking that he would not get the money Deion Sanders was saying two other teams would pay him? Was it selfishness, like the holdout, that made him sign? Meaning he knew how much money he would lose by sitting out the season and also hurting his draft stock value if he returned to the NFL draft next year.

Every week Crabtree held out, his stock continued to fall. He wasn’t going to be drafted as high next season because teams knew that he was going to be a pain to sign. So if he didn’t take the 49ers’ deal, he had to hope that he was enough of a distraction to force a trade. But the 49ers played hard ball and won. But by holding out in the first place, Crabtree ensured that both sides lose. He’s at least two months behind, and who knows what kind of shape he’s in. He’s going to have a tough time making a big impact this season.

The rookie salary structure in the NFL is so screwed up that it should have made my list of the 10 Dumbest Things In Sports. It’s beyond me why any player, having not played a down in the NFL, feels that he can hold out for more than the obscene amount of money that he’s already being offered. The NFL needs to go to a format that is more like the NBA, where each draft slot has a specific dollar value attached to it based on the salary cap and league revenue.

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Crabtree, 49ers to renew contract discussions

ESPN.com 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.

Jim Brown calls out Michael Crabtree

In a recent interview with Sirius XM radio, former NFL legend Jim Brown had some advice for Michael Crabtree, the 49ers rookie who is holding out for a bigger contract offer.

From the San Jose Mercury News:

Jim Brown, who made $85,000 in the final season of his Hall of Fame career, has a message for the 49ers’ first-round draft pick:

“Mr. Crabtree, get your butt in camp,’’ he said.

In an interview with Sirius XM radio, Brown told host Joe Madison that Michael Crabtree’s current stance is “totally ridiculous” and said that an athlete’s career is measured by the way he plays, not the contract he signs.

“You don’t realize that your legacy will be based upon how you perform, not how much money you made?” Brown said on the show.
Brown visited 49ers training camp in August. Crabtree was absent because of a contract stalemate that shows no sign of a breakthrough three games into the regular-season. Reports peg the 49ers offer as a five-year deal that includes $16 million in guarantees.

It’s painstakingly clear that Crabtree is only about the money. If he truly cared about football he would have already accepted the 49ers’ original offer (which was for fair, market value by the way) and would be contributing on the field right now.

If it’s not killing Crabtree that his team is currently atop the NFC West standings at 2-1 and he can’t contribute in some way, then the 49ers should cut their losses and move on because the kid doesn’t have the fire to play.

And that’s just not going to fly on a team coached by Mike Singletary.

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.

Warning signs were there about Crabtree

In an article written by Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports, several unnamed NFL front office people said that there were warning signs before the draft that receiver Michael Crabtree was going to be a problem to sign.

He wasn’t alone in that cynicism. While public and media sentiment have been overwhelmingly against Crabtree and Parker, all seven executives agreed the impasse marks a significant failure by the 49ers, too. While second-guessing is easy in hindsight, it didn’t stop some from suggesting that they saw a nasty impasse coming as soon as Crabtree slipped out of the top five and then had Oakland’s Darrius Heyward-Bey(notes) selected in front of him at No. 7 – particularly considering Crabtree was represented by Parker, who has a history of holdouts with draft picks.

“[Crabtree] didn’t even work out for teams, and he still had it in his mind that he was the best player in the draft,” the NFC North executive said. “People were in his ear telling him that from jump street. Honestly, I thought it could have been a problem if Seattle would have taken him [at No. 4]. Then they would have been asking for No. 1 money.”

Added an NFC general manager: “He was represented by Eugene Parker. That was kind of a giveaway right there.”

There was a report that surfaced before the draft that Eric Mangini of the Browns was so turned off by Crabtree’s attitude during a pre-draft visit that the Cleveland head coach said that he wouldn’t select the Texas Tech product at No. 5. So obviously there’s a lot of truth behind the notion that the 49ers should have known that Crabtree was going to be a problem.

That said, what where they supposed to do? Nobody is arguing Crabtree’s athletic ability; he was a top 5 talent that slipped to No. 10 and San Fran had a major need for a receiver. Even if they did think he would holdout, I doubt they believed it would go into the season like it has.

So yeah, there were warning signs. But I still don’t blame the 49ers for taking a shot on a dynamic playmaker that fell into their laps at No. 10. If they can get a deal worked out, then Mike Singletary can get his hands on Crabtree and hopefully straighten out his attitude. Of course, that’s a big “if” in terms of getting him signed.

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