Michael Crabtree’s Hold-out Strategy

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The hot news this morning is that Michael Crabtree, the 49ers talented 10th overall pick from this past year, has finally agreed to a dealReportedly, it’s a 6 year deal, though the financial specifics have yet to be released.  You read that correctly, he finally signed a contract – 4 weeks into the NFL schedule!  That sort of timing is a little unorthodox, but I can’t help but think it was a beautifully crafted strategic plan by Crabtree and his cousin-turned-agent Eugene Parker to completely avoid being around Brett Favre during the 49er’s week 3 match up with the Minnesota Vikings.  Trust me, not even (prospective) NFL players like that guy.

After the April 29th draft, Crabtree and Parker opened negotiations with the 49ers by referencing mock draft projections and insisting that Crabtree’s mock-draft ranking entitled him to a higher paid contract than the Raider’s 7th overall pick Darrius Heyward-Bey.  This isn’t typically how professional agents negotiate, which led me to wonder if Crabtree had simply hired Parker for his prowess at fantasy football.  Parker seems like that guy in your fantasy football league that way overvalues Tony Romo because “ESPN ranked him as a top 5 QB this year.”

Despite this unprofessional start to the negotiations, I really liked what Crabtree and Parker did.  They gave Crabtree more than enough time to completely recover from the stress fracture in his foot, and managed to give him a relaxing summer break.  They knew what kind of personnel the Niners had and just wanted to wait long enough for them to realize that they really need him on the field wearing crimson and gold.  To date, the 49ers rank 28th in total offense and passing yards, and none of their receivers rank in the league’s top 50 in terms of receptions.

In the end, was holding out so long really necessary? Yes, I do believe so. After all, yesterday was the first day that M.C. Hammer was available to help out with discussions.

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