NFL Network’s Deion Sanders chimed in earlier tonight regarding the lingering impasse between the 49ers and receiver Michael Crabtree.
Sanders, who was represented during his playing career by Crabtree’s agent, Eugene Parker, and who still is believed to have close ties to him, said that Crabtree is willing to sit out the entire season and re-enter the draft in 2010.
“You can’t miss what you don’t have,” Sanders said regarding the money that Crabtree currently is leaving on the table.
Sanders also said that two teams contacted the 49ers regarding a trade for Crabtree, that the teams were willing to pay Crabtree, and that Crabtree knows it. Though Sanders didn’t say so directly, he implied that the other teams were willing to pay Crabtree a contract worth $40 million. (And if the player became aware of the intended offers via communications with the interested teams, the 49ers should be filing tampering charges.)
As host Rich Eisen astutely pointed out in response, the window on trading Crabtree has closed. And, as we recently explained for SportingNews.com, by the time that window re-opens, a team would have to pay Crabtree out of a 2010 rookie pool number that gets no deeper to account for the presence of a holdover from 2009.
We were a bit troubled, frankly, by the extent to which Sanders used his regular spot on Total Access as a commercial for Parker, singing his praises while generally criticizing other agents who “didn’t do a good job” by negotiating the contract that have placed Crabtree in a slot he doesn’t like.
Along the way, Sanders parroted the talking points that we’ve heard Parker is using while recruiting the guys with whom Crabtree might be competing for draft position next year, explaining that Parker had done plenty of other deals (including the contract for 2009 third overall pick Tyson Jackson), a tactic which apparently is intended to insulate Parker from blame for the current mess.
But Sanders pushed it a bit too far with this one: “It’s not Eugene’s reputation or his benefit to keep a guy out.”
Actually, Parker has a long history of “keeping a guy out.” As we explained on August 21, only one of Parker’s last 18 first-round picks reported for training camp on time.
In this specific case, Sanders was vague regarding the person most responsible for Crabtree’s current status. There’s speculation in league circles that Parker recruited Crabtree by promising that he’d be a top-five pick, and that Parker’s Plan B was to attempt to get him a contract in that ballpark. The other school of thought is that the kid is simply delusional, and that he doesn’t realize that he’ll be in the same mess next year, unless he gets picked higher than he got picked this year.
He’s also fooling himself if he thinks he’ll be picked higher, especially since whoever is thinking about drafting Crabtree in 2010 will have no way to avoid the internal “I told you so’s” if he gives his next team a hard time at any point during his career in that city.