ALAMEDA, CA - While the Oakland Raiders have recently been characterized as a joke of a franchise, and Al Davis continues to constantly chip away at the mystique that he took decades to build. It's no wonder that on that fateful night on April 29th, 2009 Rogel Godell shocked the world by revealing that the Oakland Raiders had used their 7th pick overall to select Heyward-Bey over mega-hyped-superstar-to-be Michael Crabtree.
A giddy Crabtree giggled in joy that he had escaped the jaws of the black hole of oblivion that is the Raider Nation. He made a jesture of relief, as Darius, humbly accepted his new role and proudly professed his new love for his team and his commitment to making the best of the situation.
When the 49ers picked Crabtree, everyone was declaring that Michael Crabtree was the steal of the draft, and that the Niners had found their Jerry Rice; a player that would carry the franchise back to dominance. Kiper clearly sold on this kid, declaring him the most NFL ready wide receiver he'd ever seen.
Fast forward a few months, to the opening of training camp and crabtree is nowhere to be found. His 'adviser' is talking about sitting out and waiting for a better deal in next year's draft.
With the looming showdown for a new barganing agreement next year, waiting it out might turn out to be a big mistake. One of the biggest issues that will be discussed is the out of control rookie salaries, and on this issue both sides seem to have some common ground.
It's hard to take the "sitting out" threat seriously, especially considering his source is his cousin. And the reality is that his agent is not about to waste all that work just to see him go back into oblivion for a year.
The real question is whether the Niners will give in to his demands, in some ways they shouldn't be surprised with the results. They had heard, like most of the NFL that Crabtree was 'particular'.
So is it any surprise that now he's commanding more money and that he won't play until he gets it? This is one time where I think Al Davis, whether by sheer luck did the right thing. I knew that he passed on Crabtree was because of the receiver's contempt for the Raiders. Now, it's the Niners turn to deal with a 'diva' and get a taste of what they always bashed the Raiders for.
The Niners will eventually give Crabtree what he asks, because they have nothing to gain by not doing so, and Crabtree knows that in this day and age the players have known that the one leverage they have over teams is hype. And if there's one thing Crabree has a lot of .... is hype.