Michael Crabtree: A Mutual Divorce For The San Francisco 49ers

Bryan GoldbergSenior Writer ISeptember 21, 2009

SANTA CLARA, CA - MAY 01:  Michael Crabtree #15 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during practice as quaterback Alex Smith #11 practices during the 49ers Minicamp at their training facilities on May 1, 2009 in Santa Clara, California. Crabtree was the 49ers first round draft pick.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Perhaps Michael Crabtree was right all along.

Perhaps he was never meant to fall to No. 10 and get drafted by the 49ers.

Maybe he was meant to fall further, into the hands of a team that wanted to air out the ball and put the Texas Tech receiver on SportsCenter five or six times during the season's course.

Or, what if there's some truth to those highly-suspect rumors that this is all about Crabtree's Subway Restaurants deal—you know, the one where he has to make 10,000 receptions and notch 34 TDs this season in order to squeeze every penny from the endorsement.

Could it be that the 49ers ran their mouths too much in the pre-season, talking about Frank Gore and their smash-mouth running game?

What glitzy rookie WR would want to show up at a training camp where the work-horses get the attention that the show-horses so badly crave?

Suppose, for a moment, that the reality of the draft is finally setting in for the 49ers. There were three talented offwnaivw tackles taken before the No. 10 pick. Everyone secretly wanted Eugene Monroe, that was the need position. Crabtree was an opportunistic luxury that fell into Singletary's lap unexpectedly.

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Maybe the buyer's remorse began to take effect somewhere around the time of mini-camp.

Perhaps all of those anonymous "front office officials" who are supposedly laughing at the 49ers behind closed doors for botching this negotiation, perhaps they're right to laugh.

This is a team whose coach just wants to play ball—not wear a Reebok suit on the sidelines. It's  a team headed by Jed York, a kid who's too young to even remember much of the Montana glory years.

Maybe this team has more heart than business sense. Perhaps the organization is focused on the field, not the negotiation table.

Maybe that whole thing called "locker room morale" isn't such a sham. Perhaps there is such thing as inspirational leadership—you know, the type that coach Mike Singletary demonstrated late in the game against Arizona. Maybe the 49ers place a great deal of value on that intangible asset, and don't want a younger, less-proven version of T.O. to take it away from them.

It may also be the case that the 49ers have modeled their team after the Baltimore Ravens. Perhaps Shaun Hill is their Trent Dilfer, Patrick Willis is their Ray Lewis, and Frank Gore is their Jamal Lewis.

Many people forget who played WR on that Super Bowl XXXV team. He's probably some lonely, forgotten wretch. He almost certainly does not have $20 Million in cash to cheer him up.

Perhaps this whole Michael Crabtree thing was never meant to be.

Perhaps he was a bad fit for the 49ers from the start.

Perhaps he does not fit into the team that coach Singletary is trying to build, and perhaps the 49ers are not consistent with the type of glamorous 1,500-yard/16 TD performance that Crabtree wants to—and is capable—of displaying.

Perhaps this is just one of those divorces that both parties should agree to mutually, and just move on with their lives.

The 49ers can trade Crabtree a few weeks before the draft, get a mid first-rounder for him, and supplement their up-start franchise with a mind-boggling three Top 25 picks.

That actually sounds pretty good. Three picks in the first round, no diva in Singletary's locker room... Things could be much worse.

And Crabtree can fly back to Texas and play in that glamorous new stadium for Jerry Jones.

Everybody wins. It's a divorce. But it's not a painful one.

It's one that was meant to be.

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