Crabtree To Sit Out Season, Re-Enter NFL Draft?

As PRO FOOTBALL TALK mentioned today, the situation with Michael Crabtree’s holdout is steadily declining into “disaster” territory. Now, according to his agent Eugene Parker, Crabtree is planning to sit the entire season out, then join the 2010 NFL Draft (in prime time!) in search of a new team.

Michael Crabtree catch
(This is Michael Crabtree catching a football during a football game. Just keeping it fresh in your mind, since you’re not going to be seeing it for a good, long while.)

Crabtree, the phenomenally productive and talented receiver out of Texas Tech (best known for driving a wooden stake through Texas’ season), was the 10th pick of the draft. Obviously, he thinks he should have gone higher - or should be paid as such, anyway. Never mind that the “big” money comes from the second contract, not the rookie contract.

But if there’s some chuckling you hear, it’s probably coming from Cleveland. That’s because during the draft process, Tech’s head coach Mike Leach was adamant that Browns head man Eric Mangini was behind the rumors dogging Crabtree - namely that he’d been exhibiting diva-like qualities.  Remember this?

“Michael Crabtree has been more successful as a receiver than that guy has a coach at this point,” Leach said. ” … Part of the reason is he’s (Crabtree) too shy to be like that.”

Said Leach: “My definition of a diva is someone who’s loud and self-absorbed. Michael Crabtree is the furthest thing from loud that I’ve seen.”

You can be quiet and still submarine your own career out of greed, I guess.

The tactic seemed to have worked for John Elway back when he was drafted; he was picked first by the Baltimore Colts against his wishes, so he sat out and waited for Denver to select him the next year. Ta-da? He’d have been successful no matter where he went, really. Hall of Famers are like that.

Less sure, though, is that Michael Crabtree is good enough to pull a stunt like this. Wide receivers are notoriously unreliable when it comes to pro success (for example, we were telling anyone who would listen 10 years ago that David Boston would be a perennial All-Pro. Whoops). And so at a position where the learning curve is usually two seasons long (highly drafted, 3rd-year receivers are great late-round sleepers in fantasy football, by the way), Crabtree’s just delaying that lengthy process by a year for a difference in money that works out to pennies in the long run of an NFL veteran’s career. Why?