Niners Hit Jackpot With Crabtree After All: Needed Attraction

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst IOctober 9, 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)

Alright, gambling is when individuals are usually found in casinos, squandering large portions of earnings invested from tedious and draining weekdays of hard labor in the office. But now, half of us are tempted to take a risk, wastefully throwing away valuable profit to a slot machine that is rigged.

When someone wins the jackpot, a dense mistake is inserting millions back into the machine. Just like it was surprisingly an unexpected and wealthy treat, the wealthiest offer vanishes, making it discouraging for average gamblers, hammered with financial disasters.

That’s a better understanding of what almost happened to the San Francisco 49ers, fortunate to hit the NFL jackpot in the draft when notably selecting the compelling Texas Tech product, Michael Crabtree with the 10th pick in the first-round. He was rated as the uttermost talented receiver to come out of college. That being said, he was a comparison of the long-time and former wideout Jerry Rice, and some optimists even claimed that he was going to be the fastest rookie receiver in ages.

But if that's all true, why was he the last first-rounder to get signed?

The Niners almost lost the jackpot and missed out on Crabtree, which clearly would’ve been another unfulfilling letdown, provoking long-suffering fans to wait and withstand inferiority. Not much seemed as fitting, with history advertising a franchise missing a sense of direction or assurance. Mired with ongoing quarterback instability, in recent years, excelling to win enough regular-season games to qualify for the playoffs wasn’t even part of an indefinite culture.

Mike Nolan’s reign marked a stint, when ownership appeared to be disgruntled after poorly accumulating losses. To resolve endless dreary that gradually started reducing presumptions of developing youth. Aiming for the better, the Niners were gifted with potential and young stars, but suddenly found themselves, hopelessly declining as a perplexing franchise without any structure.  

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As the unforeseen dismissal of Nolan occurred, critics bashed general manager Scot McCloughan for mishandling the situation, and needed time adjusting to interim coach Mike Singletary. Admittedly, critics offered honest advice and said he was inexperience as a head coach. But of course, McCloughan made it clear, and trusted that he was ready to solidify coaching assignments, removing the interim label and officially named him head coach.

A week later, Singletary foolishly humiliated himself when he dropped his pants in frustration during a halftime speech, trying to make a point to his heedless players. He simply illustrated what it’s like getting a butt whipping, but more so, it softened his credibility. The foolish antic and a frivolous rant at a press conference evoked discussions and criticism on whether or not he was actually a suitable coach for conveying charisma and inspiration.

His old school coaching method has changed the complexion in the Bay Area. Seemingly, the Niners play with more urgency and hard-driven mindset, removing all the chaotic diversity and burdens, which has delayed grandeur for years. But now, the Niners are establishing and moving down the right path under Singletary’s coaching system, slowly growing into a fairly immaculate franchise.

And after suffering from much disappointment, they were granted the rights to Crabtree, who shockingly sat patiently in the draft as the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders—two anticipated teams—passed on the well-advanced receiver.

The Niners though, almost missed out. They failed to reach a deal until early Wednesday, when he signed a six-year contract that can turn into a five-year deal if he matches his potential and has a Pro Bowl-type season as the 10th pick in the 2009 draft.

According to multiple sources, Crabtree’s contract is worth $32 million, and depending upon achievements, the deal could reach $40 million. To start off, he’s guaranteed $17 million, still enough to feed the family and spend his riches. An issue occurred that prolonged an agreement between his agent Eugene Parker and team officials.

Whether it was because of ego or welfare of Crabtree, negotiating with Parker wasn’t at a halt. They would’ve been less of an organization to not negotiate and would’ve faced steep ramifications, as to which the tough-minded receiver nearly approached ineligibility to play this season. In all likelihood, the Niners could’ve considered trading his rights before the seventh week.

Otherwise, Crabtree was set to re-enter the ’10 draft. But if McCloughan failed to hold on to the NFL’s rookie magnet, he clearly would’ve taken heat from critics for not completing a deal. They decided to pick the most interesting and next receiver to emerge in the league. But there are still some clauses in the contract, which might shorten his stint with the Niners     

If he’s selected to the Pro Bowl in his first four years, and takes 80 percent of the offensive snaps—according to sources—the contract will void in the fifth season.

For now, Crabtree is the best big-name player to land on the Niners. He’s a true top-notch receiver that was needed to uplift aspiration that was missing, until Singletary took over.  He’s a big-name star and certainly can contribute to a manageable offense.

After holding out for months, missing mini-camps and training camps, including four regular-season games, Crabtree is welcomed to obviously solidify vitality on offense. One thing certain is that he cannot mend quarterback woes, which is a work in progress under a much-improved Shaun Hill.

Even the defense is more efficient, with a defensive unit that bull-rushes, creating a compelling pass rush.

An improbable start is happening, even without dangerous running back Frank Gore, who suffered a sprained ankle. That being said, who thought the Niners would be 3-1 to start the season?

For now, the Niners will likely be without Crabtree until Week Seven. So, perhaps, they’ll rely on a matured and tough-minded tight end Vernon Davis, who feuded with Singletary when sent to the locker room for an early shower a year ago, as if he was a troubled teenager.

With Crabtree, who is confident he’s a big role receiver on offense after finally signing, a receiver tandem could emerge creating offensive threats. Known for his late-game heroics, Crabtree is the most-beloved rookie arriving to the Bay Area, inspiring a hapless town to appreciate football like most did in the '80s era.

He won’t make an impact immediately, as it will take time to grasp the playbook and blend in with teammates after not having much practice. But he can play a huge role in the near-future, and isn’t a wasteful pick or bust like the injury-prone Alex Smith—a fluctuant quarterback many think should be traded or cut.

Either way, the Niners finally used their pick wisely and took Crabtree. But more importantly, they’ve signed him to a contract before it was too late, finally bringing in "the main attraction."

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