Sunday, August 2, 2009
You Can't Sign Up Crabs
I love Michael Crabtree. Let's just get that one out of the way. I'm a fucking Texas Longhorns fan and when he went up over two guys to snag that ball from Graham Harrell on the sidelines and walk in for the game-winning score in the biggest win in the history of Pirate Leach's Texas Tech Red Raiders, then proceeded to give one of the greatest post-game interviews in the history of sports ("I DREAMED IT IN MY HEAD!"), I became an instant fan. Then, when the corpse of Al Davis passed him up for the second coming of James Jett (Speed kills...and I mean it kills the Oakland Raiders) I remember screaming out in joy because the next team who would possibly draft him would be the Niners. The Jaguars were WR-thin but their O-Line was decimated (Hi, Eugene Monroe. Enjoy playing with what's left of David Garrard.) and the Packers needed another defensive lineman more than I need to lose 75 pounds. (Hello, B.J. Raji. Enjoy playing with Hawk and Kampman.)
So, lo and behold, the Niners get a guy who was at one point thought to be the #1 pick, if only to further destroy the psyche of Lions fans, to be sure, but still, to get the top non-QB talent in the draft at #10 gives them their first true playmaker since T.O. left.
And he isn't signed.
Let's just get this out there. The most important offensive player you've drafted in four years is someone you get into negotiations with right away, you lock him up even if it costs you a little bit more than you are willing to give, and you get him out there so that when you get to Week 1 and start up the 26th weakest schedule in the land, he's not behind in learning yet another new offense. The hell is that nonsense?
I've always been so much against the whole idea of contract negotiations when it comes to draft picks, not just in football, but in baseball as well, where I work in the industry. As an intern for a minor league team, but still, you get to figure out just how much people care about their services. The NBA, for all their prospective money woes to come with the current economic crisis, gets it right when it comes to handing out their contracts for draft picks: They have slotted, pre-determined max contracts when it comes to the spot where the players are drafted, and they HAVE to take those contracts. The idea of max contracts is fantastic for a league that has a salary cap, which is why when it comes to the NFL and you have THREE MONTHS to get a contract knocked out and you still don't do it, that with the salary cap, something should be changed.
It won't happen anytime soon because the players are making so much money that they don't want it changed. Same old story that's been said for years: Rookies are getting paid much more to get into the league than those who are already in it (Unless you're Albert Haynesworth) and the vets are kinda peeved at it. But what's gonna happen in the near future? Nothing. Because the NFLPA doesn't want to take away prospective bonuses from their vets in the near future.
Needless to say, the 49ers need to get their head out of their asses and realize that of all their #1 draft picks, this guy is NOT the one they need to worry about overpaying. Wunderkind Jed York needs to get going on this negotiation and stop playing hardball. Get the deal done, get him into camp, and then get to work. As long as that happens, I'll be happy.
And even if it doesn't anytime soon, at least the picture above will make me happy.