It seems like every season, we witness a few disgruntled football players holding out from their teams during the preseason, and threatening not to play. In a different twist, one of the game’s most anticipated rookies, Michael Crabtree, is threatening not to play.
One of the top picks in the 2009 drafts, Crabtree has very high expectations. I’d like to place much of the blame for this all on Al Davis, the general manager in Oakland. One of the biggest mistakes Davis made was his selection of Darrius Heyward Bay over Crabtree at the seventh spot.
Heyward Bey is fast, but Crabtree is one of those rare receivers that comes along every few years, with a unique blend of speed, talent, and all of the intangibles you look for in a receiver. Named as an All-American during both of his seasons with the Red Raiders, Crabtree is as good as they get.
That was Al Davis’ first mistake of the off-season. He soon made another costly (no pun intended) mistake by dishing out $ 38.25 million for Heyward-Bey, a colossal amount of money. So now we go to Crabtree, who not only feels as though he should’ve been drafted ahead of Heyward-Bey, which he should’ve, but who also feels he should be getting paid more than him, which isn’t going to happen.
The Niners won’t have it and are sticking to their guns, claiming that they’re willing to let Crabtree miss the entire season if he must. This is very damaging to both Crabtree’s prospects, and to the 49ers’ season as well.
This whole debacle brings one of the biggest problems in the NFL to light: the exorbitant contracts NFL rookies are “earning.” Seriously, this is a huge problem. How can someone, no matter how “good” they supposedly are, come into the NFL and make more than proven veterans? How many of these touted “stars” go on to be major busts? Unfortunately, the problem isn’t going to be fixed any time soon if guys like Heyward-Bey are getting those massive deals without having played a snap in the NFL.
Crabtree is in fact better than Heyward-Bey, but this doesn’t mean that he, too, deserves $ 38 million or more. Crabtree should be thrilled with any contract valued at 7 or 8 figures, as most NFL players with established careers would jump on the opportunity to secure such a contract.
Frankly, Crabtree should sign the “modest” contract that the 49ers are offering, and if he’s really that good, he’ll be able to sign a new contract in a few years and be one of the highest paid players in the NFL.