At least five or six people have asked me today what my thoughts are on the 49ers signing Michael Crabtree. I referred them to my Facebook posting, "Why, God. WHY???"
Maybe that's confusing because yes, the Niners drafted him so of course they'd want to ink the deal, yes he was an outstanding college wide receiver and yes -- Isaac Bruce ain't gettin' any younger so the team's looking to get some youth in its WR core.
I'm upset because as a business decision and a psychological decision, I feel it was the wrong way to go.
Here's the business part: Crabtree's outrageous request of $40 million to sign may have been falling on deaf ears in San Francisco but at least two teams were looking foolish enough to pony up that kind of dough. As SF Chronicle columnist Kevin Lynch clearly explains, the Niners could have let Crabtree dangle for another team to sign and dealt him for at least one 1st round draft pick next year. The team at 3-1 (and almost 4-0 -- see previous post) is playing the best they have in YEARS. They don't need him this year.
Here's the psycho-babble part: when Crabtree began showing his true colors toward the end of the preseason, that wasn't sitting well with some team members. Crabtree's attitude during this whole ordeal has been selfish -- what's going to make him any different in the locker room? By signing him anyway, even after all the drama, the team's front office is saying that's OK.
I can see that -- it is a business after all. But you don't cut your employees' wages and start making them buy their own office supplies to keep a business afloat during a recession -- that's just bad for moral...and a good way to encourage employee theft, by the way. So why would you sign someone who, the only thing he's proven in the NFL is that he's not a team player off the field? Kind of seems obvious that one would be bad for morale.
In other words if Crabtree turns into Terrell Owens 2.0, the team is going to look pretty stupid in hindsight. But this time, they'll have no one to blame but themselves.
I'd take an old Isaac Bruce issue with two, 1st round draft picks next year over that potential poop-storm.
I can't help beating in a point. Saw this today in some catch-up reading I was doing in the Chronicle's blog post, Smoke and bubbles - how Michael Crabtree fits in:
"One e-mailer wrote me to say, how are we going to know if it's Isaac Bruce or Michael Crabtree who catches the pass? Because both will elicit either Bruuuuuuuce? or Booooooo? which, of course, sounds the same."
Hah! And good question...