Crab's Actions Hint at Tampering

Shawn DhaniCorrespondent ISeptember 24, 2009

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 22:  Wide receiver Michael Crabtree #5 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders on the sidelines during a 65-21 loss against the Oklahoma Sooners at Memorial Stadium on November 22, 2008 in Norman, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

While the bigwigs at the league office figure out whether or not the New York Jets tampered with San Francisco 49ers wideout Michael Crabtree, a new theory has emerged that could lend support to the tampering charges.

Former NFL executive Andrew Brandt of National Football Post wrote:

"Why, one would reasonably ask, would a player turn down guaranteed money in the $17 million range and an APY (average per year) of over $4 million to roll the dice on an uncertain future? The most likely answer is that another team has intimated in subtle (or not-so-subtle) terms that if Crabtree takes that alternative, he will not regret it financially."

That, ladies and gents, would be tampering of course. Brandt doesn't insinuate that it defintely happened that way, only that it might give a clue as to why Crabtree has been so confident in his defiance.

On the other hand, was there an ulterior motive in the Niners filing the charges? Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee thinks so.

He notes that the Jets have now effectively been removed as a potential suitor if Crabtree sits out the season.

If he did re-enter the draft and the Jets took him, it would essentially signal that they were guilty of tampering.

As a reminder, here are some important dates to remember regarding Crabtree, from Schefter:

In order to play this season, Crabtree must sign by Nov. 17.

After August 14, the Niners no longer were permitted to trade Michael Crabtree's rights.

The next point he can be traded is at the start of the 2010 trading period -- March 5, 2010.

And if Crabtree is not signed and he is not traded, he would go back into the draft on April 22, 2010.