49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

September 4, 2009
Deion Sanders: Crabtree willing to sit out season

Deion Sanders says that Michael Crabtree is willing to sit out the entire season and re-enter the 2010 draft. How would Sanders know? As host Rich Eisen points out prior to an interview with Sanders today on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access", Sanders has counseled Crabtree from time to time and Sanders once was represented by Crabtree's agent, Eugene Parker, with whom Sanders is obviously still very tight. Sanders also trained with Crabtree prior to the February scouting combine. Which is to say that Sanders isn't exactly an unbiased observer when it comes to Michael Crabtree v. 49ers.

Among the salient portions of the interview:

Sanders reiterated what Parker dismissed last month - that Crabtree is willing to sit out the entire season if the 49ers don't increase their offer.

"Is he willing to sit out the entire year? I think so. I really think so," Sanders said. What makes Crabtree think that's a wise move? Said Sanders: "There have been two teams that have contacted the San Francisco 49ers desiring a trade and who will pay this kid and he knows that." Reminded by Eisen that the deadline to trade Crabtree passed on Aug. 14, Sanders said, "true." (A 49ers spokesman said there have been no trade discussions).

Eisen then said it might be a case where Crabtree gets zero dollars this year. Would he be willing to sit out and not get paid? "Why would you settle for $20 million when you feel like you can get $40 million," Sanders said. "That's the problem." Later he said, "Pretty much the San Francisco 49ers need him desperately. You would think Michael Crabtree would need it but he's not in dire need of money at this time and I'm saying that honestly." I wrote about Crabtree's money situation earlier today.

So what is Sanders' rationale? He argued that the slotting system that the 49ers are abiding by doesn't actually take into account real money. He insisted there were several players in the Top 10 this year (Mark Sanchez, Darrius Heyward-Bey) who actually made more real money than the players picked ahead of them.

Eisen suggested that Crabtree perhaps thought he was better than a No. 10 overall pick. Sanders: "First of all, I would like to say that he's not thinking he's the No. 1 pick. That's not the case. He's realizing that he is a No. 10, but he's not going to suffer for the lack of contract negotiation power with the agents who didn't do a good job or some of the players who caved in and really didn't get what they're worth." In other words, Crabtree doesn't feel he should be bound by what Green Bay gave B.J. Raji at pick No. 9.

More Sanders: "I'm not advising Michael Crabtree (but) you only get one chance on your first deal and you may not make it to the second deal. So you really don't want to mess this up." Sanders cited the 49ers' offer as five years and $20 million total. "They (Crabtree and Parker) would really like San Francisco to make up the difference, to meet them half way."

-- Matt Barrows

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Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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