Is Crabtree serious about walking away from $16 million?

Is Crabtree serious about walking away from $16 million?


Here’s a new thought: What if they’re just irrational enough to do it?

Even a month ago when the relative/advisor told ESPN that Michael Crabtree was willing to sit out the entire season if he did not get the kind of contract offer he thought he deserved as the No. 10 pick in the draft, it was difficult to take it seriously.

After all, where is Michael Crabtree going to make $16 million guaranteed if he does not sign an NFL contract? Can somebody get that kind of lucrative offer in the fashion industry?

One NFL source who has worked with Crabtree’s agent, Eugene Parker, told me a while back that he thought the most logical conclusion was that Crabtree would accept the 49ers’ long-standing offer around Labor Day.

That sounded like the most reasonable scenario. After all, players don’t make any significant money during training camp – just per diems. Most rookies have minimum base salaries of $310,000, so a draft pick would be forfeiting more than $18,000 a week by not signing on time.

I admit to being in full reactionary mode when I saw NFL insider Adam Schefter’s comment today on Twitter: Anyone waiting for Michael Crabtree to sign with San Francisco could be waiting a long time. A real long time.

It took me back to an exchange last night with somebody who has a firm grasp of the inner workings of the 49ers-Crabtree situation. I offered my opinion – deftly lifted from my first source – that Crabtree would sign the contract a couple days on either side of Labor Day.

His response, “I hope you don’t play the lottery.”

OK, so I don’t know what to think now.

Parker and Crabtree might have a plan. Surely, they would not want anybody to know they plan to end the contract impasse on a certain date. Of course, they want everybody to think Crabtree is willing to sit out the entire season. That’s the only hope they have of getting the 49ers to raise their offer.

Team president Jed York and others in the 49ers’ hierarchy have said they  believe Crabtree will sign. Numerous 49ers sources have told me Crabtree is living in the South Bay. If so, that does not sound like a person who has no intention of ever playing for the 49ers.

The 49ers’ offer on a five-year contract includes approximately $16 million in guaranteed money. Of course, maybe he believes the 49ers are going to up their offer by approximately $7 million guaranteed and $18 million over the life of deal.

If that’s what he’s expecting, Crabtree might have a long wait.

York, GM Scot McCloughan and negotiator Paraag Marathe have way too much to lose to set the precedent of paying a draft pick more than the slot. After all, the 49ers have two first-round picks next year. They’re all young men who want to work in the NFL a long time.

I still believe it will get done, and all those fun rules we learned about unsigned draft picks will become useless information.

But we’re all just guessing on this one. After all, maybe they are just irrational enough to do it.

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The 49ers will take 73 players on their roster (because Crabtree is not under contract, he does not count) to San Diego for the final exhibition game. Singletary said his focus is to get the veterans ready for the regular-season opener while giving a lot of playing time to the young players.

But Singletary does not want his team to mail in this week of practice. He lit into the team for about five minutes at the conclusion of practice. He pointed out a myriad of mistakes and stressed the importance of approaching every day with fervor.

I’m pretty sure the flight pattern was temporarily redirected at Mineta San Jose International Airport while Singletary lectured the team.

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The word came down today that this blog set a personal record of 1.01 million page views for the month of August. Thanks to everyone for making it possible.

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