Kind of weird how this whole Michael Crabtree thing is going, isn’t it? Well, maybe not. The guy danced around the news cycle for a while, generated some interest for a couple weeks and scorn for a couple more. Then, when the 49ers showed they might not even need him to make the playoffs, the man I recently started calling Evelyn is ready to join the Mike Singletary party — fashionably late, of course.
The guy needs his attention, so now he’s back negotiating with the Niners’ brass (and sprinting away from Niner beat writers). Hopefully Dr. York won’t screw everything up (Update: it’s a done deal, as Crabtree signed a 6-year contract … hopefully by year 3 he’ll know all the plays). On the (possible) eve of Crabtree Signing Day, let’s check out the roller coaster he took everyone on, in chronological order:
4/25/09 — minutes after the 49ers snagged Crabtree at No. 10 (mood: giddy):
IT’S CRABTREE!!! IT’S CRABTREE!!! The 49ers just selected what many have called the best player in the draft, and I’m already getting celebratory text messages!!! Steve Young just said Crabtree better call up Jerry Rice and start working out with him, since even “at 45 he can still outwork most wide receivers.” Crabtree looks pretty giddy for a guy who was just drafted about five spots lower than he had figured, and I’m guessing the fact that he gets to play on the same team as Flash 80 has a lot to do with it.
4/25/09 — A few hours after the previous quote, arguing against people worried that drafting Evelyn might have been a mistake because he’s a diva (mood: proud):
Of course he is, he’s an elite wide receiver. Even Jerry Rice complained at least once per year in the press about not getting enough looks. The only great wide receiver over the past 15 years to have no diva tendencies was Marvin Harrison, though Harrison definitely has his demons. Uh oh, Crabtree enjoys fashion and is close with Deion Sanders! Oh no, who could imagine?!?! A cocky wide receiver with a taste for opulence, whatever will we do? He might dance in the end zone on every one of his 15 touchdowns per season! Oh, the fines, the fines.
8/6/09 — After seeing on the ESPN crawler that Crabtree’s cousin said Evelyn was prepared to miss the entire season (mood: incredulous)
My guess is this is just a lot of hot air from a cocky family member, some guy who’s probably getting antsy after purchasing a Yukon Denali with a Blu-Ray player and TVs in the headrests and steering wheel or something. This Wells guy probably feels like he knows how to negotiate, and that Crabtree’s agent (the notoriously difficult Eugene Parker) isn’t being aggressive enough.
My worst fear is that Crabtree’s foot HASN’T fully healed, and this is Crabtree’s way to buy himself some time to get his health back. I don’t think this is the case, but at this point one can’t rule anything out. Allowing your cousin to make a ridiculous public statement like this is unsettling to say the least; hopefully there’s nothing behind it besides hot air from a greedy family member.
8/12/09 — After Tim Kawakami and Daniel Brown made it somewhat official Crabtree would miss at least the first game of the season against Arizona, and perhaps sit out even longer (mood: worried)
The Niners can’t cave in here, and Crabtree seems like he might be the type of guy who’d rather sit out a year than have to deal with catching passes thrown by Shaun Hill and Alex Smith. When you think about the Crabtree’s future as a 49ers fan, it’s tough not to let a little pessimism creep in. Oh well, we’re used to it.
9/15/09 — After SGL threw out some crazy conspiracy theories on the whole Crabtree saga, I gave my prediction on when this whole thing would end (mood: cynical)
This is just a fierce round of negotiating by both teams, but both sides need to make this work. The 49ers are in danger of getting absolutely nothing from the tenth overall selection in the Draft, since there’s no way they’ll be able to trade the rights to the difficult WR after Week 10 (the first week they’re allowed to do so). Now known as a diva, unless Crabtree can pull off the off-season workout to end all off-season workouts at the next NFL Combine or somewhere else, there’s no way he’ll be drafted in the top 10 of next year’s NFL Draft. That means he’d be stuck subsisting off his Subway paychecks for another year unless he wants to finally give in and sign for his “slotted” amount.
To summarize: Both sides will compromise, and Crabtree will be on the team by Week 4.
10/3/09 — After a disappointing and pretty expensive night at Oktoberfest the night before, I was ready to see Evelyn get canned by Patrick Willis (mood: bitter)
I don’t even care anymore. Get some tattle-tale draft picks from the Jets if you can, Niners, but it’s impossible now to envision a scenario where Crabtree signs and does something other than shatter every foot bone or get canned by Patrick Willis and leave the team in tears. It was a nice idea while it lasted, but Crabtree is absolute baby-cancer.
Maturity, that’s what you get when you read BASG. Now the mood has gone from bitter to surreal, as not only is Crabtree looking like he’s in a hurry to get signed, MC Hammer is now somehow involved. I always knew Crabtree’s connection to Deion Sanders would lead to something positive.
Hopefully a productive Crabtree gives Shaun Hill one more resource so he doesn’t have to force 15 balls a game to Isaac Bruce. For all the vitriol I’ve seen around the Bay (and from myself) over Crabtree’s holdout, we’ll all stand and cheer for Evelyn the first time he catches a TD pass longer than 3 yards. Mood: relieved and euphoric at the same time.