Why Michael Crabtree Should Hold Out Until 2010

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst ISeptember 9, 2009

Why should Crabtree be expected to take an offer that would lowball him?

We know that Crabtree will be a star, and everyone thinks so, including Crabtree.

Here, though, is an interesting problem. If you take the examples of Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, and Brandon Marshall, you will see that holding out is in the best interests of Michael Crabtree.


Because if we believe that Crabtree can perform at the same level as Fitzgerald, then he should be paid accordingly.

We have seen players like Boldin outperform their contracts only to demand a new one, and subsequently get demonized by the forked-tongue corporate writers in the sports media that glorify retaliation and misers (ahem, Pete Prisco, ahem).

Boldin, if you have not read, is the real life version of Rod Tidwell from Jerry Maguire.

The fact is, after a rookie wide receiver enters the league, his agent will practically abandon him. Why? Because teams do not shell out new contracts to wide receivers. They shell out new contracts to quarterbacks.

Most wide receivers are treated similarly to most running backs: You get one big money contract, and that is it.  Teams don't mind playing big money to one position, like quarterback, but expect that the positions with multiple starters and key depth should play on a shoestring.

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To illustrate the twisted irony of this, the 49ers are essentially asking Crabtree to be an indentured servant and hope that they will find it in their graces to reward him for outperforming his contract.

I say that, because what is a lot of money to a fan, is nothing compared to what is made.  A million dollars is plenty of money to fan.  The reality is that, the game makes billions from the players, and relatively speaking, does not pay what they are worth.

I also say that because, whether you like it or not, money equals justice for black players, who have no qualms about fleecing a white owner, if that player believes that is what he is worth.

Realistically, if Crabtree waits another year and plays in the UFL or CFL, stays healthy, and puts up a good time in the 40, he will go in the top three of the 2010 Draft.

Some had Crabtree as the best player in the 2009 draft, but because Crabtree left too many question marks, he fell to 10th overall for the 49ers.  I say, wait a year and resolve the question marks, and then receive the money you deserve.

It is not in Crabtree's best interests to take a contract that would be equivalent to highway robbery. Yet fans, of course, think that Crabtree owes it to the 49ers, as fans generically think that rookies owe it to the franchise to take whatever deal is put forth.

I do not buy it.

It is that type of mentality that has led many players to become discontent with the contracts they get in a billion-dollar game. The majority of money goes primarily to the predominantly white position of quarterback, largely because the fans want it that way.


Because many fans are white and live vicariously through the guy they secretly want to *receive* from. Needless to say, I don't.

The fans want the wide receiver to "shut up" and take whatever they believe he should get, while the quarterback is afforded the ability to demand more money when he didn't deserve it. Just ask Carson Palmer.

Chad Ochocinco is his Name-O was a great receiver in 2003 and 2004, which was before Palmer started for the Bengals. CO3 made Jon Kitna look good in 2004 and did the same for Palmer in 2005.

Yet the sports media and like-minded fans had a lovefest for the guy they secretly had a crush on and demonized the eccentric black guy who knows how to work hard. 

I remember statements CO3 made during a Cincinnati and Oakland game in 2003, where he said that he modeled his ethic after Jerry Rice and even attempted to get tips from Rice before the game.

Thus, if Michael Crabtree expects to be paid on par with top receivers like Larry Fitzgerald, then he can afford to wait until 2010, because realistically, the draft is the one chance that receivers have to be paid.

Someone like Pete Prisco will take creepy pleasure—that strangely sounds like a bitchy drag queen—in the idea that an organization retaliates against players, as evidenced in his article about Richard Seymour. In that, Prisco defends this betrayal of players by saying that a player cannot expect loyalty from their organization.

If that is the case, why should Crabtree jump at a bad deal? Because it is the first to come down the pike? If a player cannot expect loyalty, then he should at least be afforded to right to protect his best interests.

After all, the San Francisco 49ers had no loyalty to Terrell Owens, and arguably the greatest receiver in NFL history, Jerry Rice. They had no loyalty for Joe Montana either. John York has been known to make his employees pay for their own stamps.

If Crabtree loses money by holding out a year, he will only make far more money in 2010. As the capitalist saying goes, you gotta spend money to make money.

Thus, Crabtree's holdout is a true form of capitalism. He does not owe anything to the 49ers, and he has the right to maximize his earning potential in accordance to his interests.

After all, 2010 will be uncapped, thus the money Crabtree can get is unimaginable. I would be willing to bet that Jerry Jones will trade his left foot in order to select you, Crabtree, in the Draft and pay you, Crabtree, whatever amount.

Either way, 2010 will be uncapped, thus there's no reason to take a bad contract and wait four years or more to get a new one when you can simply wait a year and get the one you deserve.

Don't get me wrong, though.

I hate to see bad contracts in the NFL, but to me, an albatross contract is the same as a lowball contract.

I acknowledge that, for many people, money equals justice, and that justice is extremely important.

I can imagine that many people do not want to hear about pragmatism in pursuit of justice either...so, it is a hard line to draw.

All I ask from players is to save the celebrations for after you win the Super Bowl. You will have the money to live well, but you will never win it all by partying.

That was Lawrence Taylor's secret to success—send women to his opponents to keep them up all night so they would be sluggish on the field. Seriously, LT said that on 60 Minutes.

To the victor go the spoils.

I hope I do not sound like some uppity hypocrite who thinks that I am being taken advantage of. I only speak as someone who loves victory and want to see victory.

If Crabtree wants the big money, he has the right to take the risk and doesn't owe anything to the San Francisco 49ers until he signs a contract, while the Draft does not create instant employees, thus, if Crabtree wants to try again with the Draft, he has the right to make that decision.

Thus, we fans want to see victory, while the players know that they cannot be pressured to sign lowball contracts, and the corporate writers question, "Who does he think he is?"

He is an American who has the right to demand what he is worth, by any legal means possible.