Ok, let's assume for one moment that Deion Sanders wasn't talking out of his you-know-what last week and that there are indeed two teams willing to pay Michael Crabtree what he believes he should get. Here are Sanders' exact words.
"Is he willing to sit out the entire year? I think so. I really think so," Sanders said last Friday. Then this: "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."
It's the "and he knows that" clause that raises eyebrows. The 49ers have publicly denied that any teams have asked about a trade and it's absurd to think they would have done so recently considering the deadline to trade Crabtree passed a month ago. But if teams have privately told Crabtree or his agent that they'd meet his asking price it explains a lot. It explains why he would be so insistent about the figure he has in his head because another team has told him he is worth that amount to them. And it explains why he thinks he'd be able to sit out the season and still end up making more than 49ers are offering. If this mythical team indeed is willing to pay Crabtree, then Crabtree could wait until March when the 49ers, desperate to get something in exchange for their lost pick, strike a trade deal.
Roger Goodell, in a recent Q&A with fans, said that the Sanders interview didn't constitute tampering. But if teams have contacted Crabtree or agent Eugene Parker, it seems like the very definition of tampering, which is "any interference by a member club with the employer/employee relationship of another club or any attempt by a club to impermissibly induce the person to seek employment with that club or with the NFL."
Of course, there also are reasons to think that no contact has taken place with other teams and that Crabtree isn't planning to sit out the season:
1.) Sanders may indeed have been talking out of his you-know-what as he didn't seem to know that the deadline to trade Crabtree had passed.
2.) Hold outs are a standard part of Parker's playbook. If you're trying to figure out why Crabtree is holding out, perhaps you need to look no farther than his agent.
3.) It's hard to imagine that Crabtree wants to hold out the season. Remember, the guy was champing at the bit to practice with the team this spring and even incurred the wrath of Mike Singletary when he tried to get in a few practice reps. In speaking with people who know him, it's clear he is incredibly competitive. Could he stand sitting out the season?
4.) Crabtree is living in the South Bay. That has always seemed to be one of the biggest clues that he eventually intends to sign with the 49ers.
-- Matt Barrows