Exactly eight months prior to Christmas day, the football gods bestowed upon San Francisco 49ers fans what appeared to be a glorious gift.
Sitting with the 10th pick in this year’s NFL Draft, the Niners and Niner fans watched as Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree (thought to be the best wide receiver by the experts) slipped and landed in their laps.
Making the moment all the sweeter was the fact that the selection came at the expense of the Oakland Raiders as Al Davis’ fascination with speed led to the Silver and Black passing on Crabtree, instead going with deep threat, Darius Heyward-Bey.
We should have known then that it was too good to be true.
Unless you live in Amish country, you are well aware that the 49ers and Crabtree have yet to come to terms on what the rookie’s contract should be, leading to a “soap-opera esque” hold out.
One that has culminated with Crabtree’s camp going on record to state that the receiver is willing to sit out the 2009 season in order to re-enter the 2010 NFL Draft should he not get the money he feels he deserves (a stance Crabtree’s camp has since tried to back away from).
No doubt things are getting messy in the City by the Bay. In the end, though, it will behoove both parties to get this deal done ASAP because while neither would like to admit it, both sides need the other.
While the 49ers would like everyone to think that they are just peachy entering week 1 with Josh Morgan, Isaac Bruce, Jason Hill, and Dominique Zeigler as their wide receiving corp, no one is buying it.
Crabtree represents something that the 49ers have not had since they parted ways with Terrell Owens, a legitimate No. 1 wide out. There’s no way the 49ers wouldn’t want to add a player of Crabtree’s caliber to their line-up.
After all, not only would Crabtree help in the development of the winner of the Alex Smith - Shaun Hill quarterback battle, but his presence would also open things up for Frank Gore and the running game. Teams would be less willing to stack the box against San Francisco due to the fear of being beat deep by Crabtree.
However, Crabtree needs the Niners just as badly as they need him. If the former Red Raider actually believes he’ll make more money by re-entering the draft next season, he is fooling himself.
If anything, the 2009 NFL Draft, and his slip to the 10th spot, should have opened Crabtree’s eyes to the fact that NFL teams are concerned with his foot injury. Add a year off from football, something that Maurice Clarett and Mike Williams proved doesn’t exactly help one’s NFL potential, and the difficulty the Niners have had in signing the wide out to the foot, and Crabtree could very well fall out of the top-10 in 2010.
If the wide receiver really wants to make his money, he would be best served by suiting up for the Red and Gold in 2009.
So, do I think a deal gets done here? Yes, mainly because both sides need one to get done. However, I, also, know that with each day that passes without Crabtree in camp, the impact the wide receiver will have both for NFL and fantasy purposes in 2009 takes a hit.
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