The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Playing A Dangerous Game

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The Michael Crabtree drama has its roots in the 2009 Scouting Combine, which is where Crabtree's foot injury prevented him from participating in any of the drills. The thought then was that this was a superior athlete and football weapon who will need to prove things in training camp that he couldn't prove on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. But then, the Raiders overdrafted Darrius Heyward-Bey with the seventh overall pick, and things got very interesting. Crabtree has been a perpetual holdout, insisting that he get what DHB got, even though he was drafted three spots lower by the 49ers, and isn't on the hook to play for a team whose owner is completely nuts. Al David probably would have given Crabtree the deed to half of Oakland, but that's not what happened, and Crabtree and his agent are going to have to deal with it. Problem is, it may be too late.

Even if Crabtree signs today, he's probably a wash to contribute at the NFL level this season. He has no familiarity with San Francisco's offense, as run-heavy and basic as it may be, and his quarterback will have little trust in his ability to run the right routes with the proper timing on a consistent basis. That takes time, and Crabtree is behind the 8-ball when it comes to working with his new team. If he actually does hold out for an entire season, it could be the worst decision of his young life. Outside of any public workouts set up by his own people, he'll have no opportunity to display his abilities against the players in the 2010 draft class. When the 2010 draft rolls around in April, he won't have played a meaningful down of football in over a year.

Crabtree may benefit from a weaker receiver class in 2010, but his situation won't be the same. At this point, the player and his agent are playing a dangerous game with Crabtree's future. The best thing for all involved would be for Crabtree to be working on the size of the second contract by playing his way through the first.

By Doug Farrar  |  September 23, 2009; 10:47 AM ET  | Category:  San Francisco 49ers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Crabtree Playing Russian Roulette | Next: Don't Get #Crabtreed

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