Crabtree May Hold Out for the Long Haul

By Joe Kukura
|  Wednesday, Aug 12, 2009  |  Updated 5:15 PM PDT
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Crabtree May Hold Out for the Long Haul

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Michael Crabtree's holdout may last up until the 49ers' opening game.

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Last week, representatives for 49ers' top draft pick Michael Crabtree said he might hold out the entire season, and I said not to believe them.

This week, sources tell the Mercury News' Tim Kawakami that Crabtree's holdout is likely to last well into September and I hate to admit I think they're right.

This information comes not from Crabtree, or his cousin, or any of his aunties. This information comes from what the Merc's Kawakami calls a "highly placed NFL source".

"The source said that Crabtree almost certainly will sign, unless he’s crazy enough to start skipping game-checks, which he probably isn’t," Kawakami writes. "But that it won’t be until in the weeks or days before the 49ers’ Sept. 13 regular-season opener."

It's an anonymous source, but regrettably the shoe appears to fit. Crabtree, by holding out this long, has shown he means business in his insistence that he get better-than-tenth-pick money. The 49ers have shown they mean business by being unwilling to pay that much. Currently, neither side has any motivation to blink.

But that all changes come Sunday, Sept. 13 when the 49ers open at Arizona. At that point, Crabtree will be missing out on game checks to the tune of nearly $500,000 apiece. Then he has sufficient motivation to blink. 

So why not just sign now? Well, because the 49ers might blink first, and that sliver of a chance is worth many millions to Crabtree. It's worth even more to his agent Eugene Parker, who would then be able to use his expert gaming of the draft-slot system to attract more top NFL draft picks as clients.

But if it's Sept. 12 and Crabtree is still unsigned, he and his agent will be bargaining from quite a position of weakness. At that point, tenth-pick money will sound better than a bonus from Goldman Sachs.

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is demanding Stephen King money.

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