Despite the fact that the 49ers have signed receiver Michael Crabtree and the fact that the Jets have traded for a receiver not named Michael Crabtree, a league source tells us that the tampering allegations made by the 49ers against the Jets will not be withdrawn.
Though there’s a sense that, in the end, the 49ers won’t be able to muster enough evidence to persuade the NFL to make an example out of the Jets, we’re told that the matter won’t simply be closed because Crabtree is now under contract.
Meanwhile, there’s some speculation in league circles that Deion Sanders might have pushed Crabtree and agent Eugene Parker toward getting something done with the 49ers in the hopes that it will insulate Deion from having to choose whether to cooperate with the investigation or risk a potentially negative impact to his employment with NFL Network.
In the end, however, it might not matter. If the folks investigating the tampering case decide to aggressively pursue Deion in the hopes of finding out what he knew when he said that there were two teams willing to pay Crabtree $40 million, Crabtree’s contract with the 49ers is irrelevant to that inquiry.
Meanwhile, some of you are pointing to the timing of the two major transactions of the morning as circumstantial evidence that the Jets wanted Crabtree and then turned to Edwards after Crabtree agreed to terms. It’s important to remember, however, that the Jets could not have added Crabtree at any point in the 2009 season — the deadline for acquiring his rights via trade came and went on August 14.
The Jets, by all appearances, are making a move aimed at winning now, and the possibility of a trade for Braylon Edwards likely has been looming for a while. The recent off-field incident involving Edwards probably was the straw that broke the Cleveland camel’s back, causing the Browns to decide to get what they can for Edwards and get him out of town before LeBron snaps him in two like an oversized toothpick.