While the NFL sorts out whether or not the New York Jets tampered with San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree, people continue to speculate why the No. 10 pick from April’s NFL Draft is so set on sitting out the entire 2009 season.
Andrew Brandt of National Football Post has wondered why on Earth Crabtree would turn down roughly $17 million in guaranteed money for a completely uncertain future. The likely answer is that someone related to another NFL team has made subtle hints to the former Texas Tech wideout that if he balks at the 49ers’ offers, he will not end up regretting it. That, is basically the definition of tampering.
Of course we don’t know that this actually happened or if Crabtree and the people representing him are just idiots, but this whole situation just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Especially when you consider how brazen Crabtree has been in his defiance, a trait that would clearly turn off other NFL teams to the talented receiver. As he sits on the sidelines, Crabtree’s value is diminishing by the day. The fact that he doesn’t seem to care has to mean something deeper is going on here.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee points out that the 49ers were smart to file tampering chargers against the Jets, because it effectively removed them as a possible destination for Crabtree. If the Jets were to take Crabtree in next year’s draft, everyone would be convinced that they had, in fact, tampered with him.
It also appears that sitting this season so far hasn’t hurt Crabtree too badly. The Sports Business Journal is reporting that he’s made over $750,000 in marketing dollars without even stepping on the field.
We have a feeling that someone did something they weren’t supposed to. We’ll never find out who did it or what actually happened, but there’s no way Crabtree would be acting this way unless he had been told he had a secure spot in the future.