What's Going on with the San Francisco 49ers Michael Crabtree?

Justin SmithCorrespondent IAugust 6, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 21:  Football player Michael Crabtree poses for a portrait on April 21, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images for Subway)

Oh, Michael Crabtree. Already, without taking an NFL snap, you have been worth the price of admission.

From his pre-draft quotes subtly slamming the Raiders, to speaking on men's fashion, to reportedly bringing an attitude to team interviews that would make Naomi Campbell cringe, he's been in the news an awful lot for someone who has never played a professional down.

Now, rumors are circulating that, feeling slighted by not only where he was drafted but also with the money that goes along with that precipitous drop, he will skip this entire NFL season and re-enter the 2010 NFL draft.

I bet Texas Tech wishes he'd never signed an agent.

Speaking of his agent, Eugene Parker, he denies that this "threat," as he called it, has ever been discussed. According to Parker, he does not employ guerilla negotiating tactics and prefers to do his dealings behind closed doors rather than in the media.

This seems very reasonable and logical.

The rumors began when Crabtree's cousin and "advisor" David Wells spoke with ESPN. He stated that the money Darrius Heyward-Bey was paid dictates the fair market value, and because they and every single other person who isn't a Raider fan seems to think it's set in stone that Crabtree is and will be a better player, he should get equal or greater money.

In fact, since Crabtree is, in his own mind, such a good player already, he should get top-three money. That's where he should've been drafted, in his humble opinion. His advisor, who isn't giving him very good advice, agrees.

The problem, Crabtree and Wells, is that the proof is in the pudding, and the Raiders proved they valued DHB more than they valued you by drafting him. So did the other eight teams that chose to draft someone not named Crabtree.

So there's your fair market value. It doesn't matter how good you or your family think you are. It doesn't even matter how good so-called NFL draft pundits and "experts" think you are. 

It matters how good your prospective future employers think you are. In this case, they didn't think Crabtree was as good as he certainly thinks he is.

The Lions, Rams, and Chiefs could all use a wideout. But they had much, much more pressing needs in this draft, and therefore were never in the cards to draft Crabtree.

Seattle had Aaron Curry fall to them, and if that hadn't happened, who knows whether they would've drafted Crabtree? The Seahawks certainly need wideouts, as it seems to be a real hard-luck position for them injury-wise.

But Crabtree didn't end up in Seattle. I wouldn't be surprised, if Curry was gone, if he had, though, and this probably wouldn't have been an issue. Of course, it's conceivable, based on his actions, that he would've demanded No. 1 money in that case.

Then Cleveland, who had already crossed Crabtree off their list due to what head coach Eric Mangini called a "diva" attitudenevermind the irony of the heavy-handed massive-ego of Mangini calling someone else a divamade a little trade with the Jets to allow them to move up and pick Mark Sanchez.

The Bengals, who after the departure of Stacey Andrews needed a tackle, took exactly that and chose Andre Smith. Despite losing T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the offseason and the ongoing mental meltdown of Chad JohnsonI'm sorry if it's disrespectful to him, but I refuse to encourage his ridiculousnessthey still didn't need Crabtree's services as badly as they needed Andre Smith or Eugene Monroe or another equally talented tackle.

The Raiders were up next. Everyone in the world knew they had needs, but everyone in the world knew one of those needs, in a desperate way, was a wide receiver.

Despite his pre-draft comments in which it came across that Crabtree would be equally happy having red-hot sewing needles jammed into his eyes as he would being drafted by the Raiders, it was widely expected the Silver & Black would pick the obvious best receiver in the draft.

Which they did, in regards to a receiver that fits the Raider mold and fills a need moreso than Crabtree would have.

It certainly seems now that, if Crabtree holds out, the Raiders are vindicated here. Of course, I'm waiting for the "well they should've drafted Jeremy Maclin, then" comments to begin. Perhaps they already have.

The Raiders recognized that Crabtree didn't want to play for them, and that he would be a very big risk regarding holding out for more money. After their unfortunate dance with No. 1 choice JaMarcus Russell, and the amount of key learning time he missed due to holding out, they weren't about to take that chance again.

As a Raider fan, I'll admit I was slightly annoyed by the pick until I started reading up on both players. I began to get more excited about DHB's upside, and that just grows daily.

Based on their dynamics, DHB fits the Raiders system better than Crabtree would have, as he'll pull defenders and allow more underneath action for Darren McFadden, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Zach Miller, Louis Murphy, and other dynamic players on the roster.

Yes, there are someI hear you lauging out there. 

Anyway, on to Jacksonville. Now, it was also widely expected that wideout-starved Jacksonville simply couldn't pass up a talent like Crabtree. But they did as well, instead going with tackle Eugene Monroe to replace the departed Khalif Barnes.

At this point, with four teams expected to take a receiver all passing on Crabtree, you have to think there is more than meets the eye.

The Green Bay Packers didn't really seem like a viable choice, as they had more concerns on the defensive side of the ball and were changing their defensive scheme. To fit the mold, they made what I think was a great choice in B.J. Raji at defensive tackle.

I was actually more upset that the Raiders passed on Raji for DHB than I was that they passed on Crabtree for him. Stopping the run is something the Raiders don't do. At all.

Then the Niners, who must've felt like the kid on Christmas who gets the expensive toy he thought his parents could never afford, had Crabtree fall into their lap. They, naturally, pulled the trigger.

Immediately I thought: "Damn! The Niners just picked up a really talented kid, and they'll only have to pay him No. 10 money."

But then I thought about that.

It was inevitable that he was going to hold out. Especially since, based on what I'd seen and read, he thought he was the best player in the draft. With that being the case, there is no way his ego nor his expectations would allow him to accept No. 10 money.

I do understand where he's coming from. There is nothing wrong with feeling like you are the best player and asking to be rewarded. However, when nine other teams don't agree, perhaps you're wrong.

Skipping this season and re-entering the draft, after taking fully a year off from competitive football, does not seem like the best course of action for Crabtree to get the payday he's looking for. Players who take years off generally take a while to readjust, if they do at all.

Crabtree, having never played an NFL down and having no real idea of what NFL game speed is, will set himself back so far that I would be amazed if he were drafted anywhere near the No. 10 spot next season.

I hope the Niners continue to take a hard line with him, though. San Francisco does need receiving help, but the 49ers aren't in the desperate straits they've been in in the recent past. They have some veterans that still have life like Isaac Bruce coupled with young talents like Jason Hill and Josh Morgan, so they aren't desperate to get him in the lineup.

It's interesting now that this is a possibility to see Niners fans talk as if they never wanted him in the first place and that they don't need him anyway. Because whenever DHB is discussed in Raider forums, and Niners fan inevitably makes their way in there and trashes us for picking him over Crabtree.

Then they proceed to say how great Crabtree is and how he's going to be the best Niners receiver since Rice, etc. Funny how opinions change when it looks like you may have completely, utterly, and totally wasted a top 10 draft pick.

Unfortunately for Crabtree, his timing sucked this season. There were so many tackle-needy teams and so many good tackles available that the skill positions weren't as valued as they usually are in most drafts.

He needs to recognize that fact, be happy he's in the NFL, and take his multi-millions. Because the Niners have indicated they aren't budging here, and nobody is feeling sorry for a kid who's already shown a colossal ego and will make more by 23 years old than most of us in five lifetimes.

If the rumors from his advisor are true, then he needs to fire his advisor and get better advice.