Heading into the second full weekend of NFL preseason games, Buffalo DE Aaron Maybin recently signed a five-year deal worth up to $25 million.
We are now left with only two unsigned picks, and their names don’t surprise me in the least: Andre Smith and Michael Crabtree.
Quite honestly, these two have done nothing but exhibit bad judgment since the calendar changed over to 2009.
Let’s start with Smith, the dominating run-blocking tackle out of Alabama. His first issue came in the days leading up to the Sugar Bowl game against Utah, where he was suspended for improper dealings with an agent.
Whether this indiscretion was responsible for Utah’s thrashing of Alabama remains up for debate, but the eight sacks recorded by the Utes would have likely been lower with Smith’s presence. Still, Smith declared himself eligible for the 2009 NFL Draft.
Then there is the whole NFL Combine/Alabama Pro Day fiasco. To sum it up, Smith left the combine early without telling anyone, later apologizing for his mistake. Then he made a bigger mistake by running sprints shirtless—an image that was not very flattering, to say the least.
You also have the whole issues with Smith chewing up and spitting out agents left and right, only to rehire one of the three he kicked to the curb, Alvin Keels.
Then there is Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree. My opinion of him went from sky-high to the basement in a blink of an eye. He really stood out on TV, and he provided some serious drama in the last-second win over Texas with his game-winning touchdown.
He just looked like an imposing receiver when sharing the TV screen with college defensive backs.
All of a sudden, reports came out about his “diva” attitude. Eric Mangini openly questioned what type of person Crabtree was (I also question what type of person Mangini is, but that is a different topic for a different day). In any case, this created a firestorm, where Crabtree’s college head coach, Mike Leach, shot some venom in the direction of Mangini.
Recently, I had the pleasure of reading reports that Crabtree was prepared to sit out the season 2009 season and re-enter the 2010 Draft, courtesy of his “advisor.” His agent, Eugene Parker, had to do some serious damage control with the media and the 49ers as a result.
Maybe Al Davis actually did some homework on Crabtree when he chose Maryland WR Darrius Heyward-Bey instead. Of course, that would mean he forgot to consider Heyward-Bey’s inability to catch the football, but still, he is under contract and in Raiders camp.
Kickoff is less than three weeks away. Neither player is signed to a contract, and therefore neither has had the opportunity to grow as a professional. Instead, they sit home holding out for more money. Each player has now been boxed in by the guys picked above and below them with Maybin getting his deal completed on Thursday. The leverage is gone.
Is Bengals President Mike Brown going to pay over slot for an immature “franchise” left tackle? He doesn’t even have a real scouting department on payroll.
Why would the 49ers pay above slot for a guy who is turning into just another “diva” wide receiver? The 49ers offense is probably going to run the ball 600 times this year anyway with an uber-conservative offensive coordinator.
One more issue to consider...if either guy decides to follow through with sitting out the entire season, they might want to ask Maurice Clarett and Mike Williams how that idea worked out for their careers.
Since the beginning of the year, I have initially only looked at these problems as individual cases. Yet when I chronicle a timeline of this behavior, bad judgment just oozes from the pores of Smith and Crabtree.
With Wonderlic scores in the teens, I don’t see either of these guys getting smarter anytime soon. I wish them best of luck in the UFL.