49ers Blog and Q&A

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

January 8, 2010
Considering Cribbs in red and gold ...

The 49ers are in desperate need of a return man. Joshua Cribbs is the best in the business and is unhappy - very unhappy - with his situation with the Cleveland Browns. Cribbs, who still has three years remaining on his deal, felt low-balled by the Browns' latest offer to restructure it. Cribbs told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer it felt like he'd been "betrayed and stabbed in the back." He's already begun saying his goodbyes at the Browns facility. He wants a trade.

The question is if the Browns acquiesce, should the 49ers leap to the front of the line? Of course, everything will hinge on what the Browns want in return and the 49ers couldn't even contemplate a trade until March. But there are other factors to weigh:

1. He would instantly improve what was one of the worst return units in the league. The 49ers ranked last in punt-return average this season and 23rd in kickoffs. Their kickoff average only improved after Josh Morgan, a potential starting receiver the 49ers would rather not have returning kicks, took over the job late in the season. This is a big priority for Mike Singletary. Heck, problems in the return game were why he declined to renew special teams coordinator Al Everest's contract.

2. How long can Cribbs keep up his pace? The longevity for return men is not that good. (See: Hall, Dante; Hester, Devin). Indeed, this is why the Browns have been reluctant to reward Cribbs - he'll be 27 in June - with a big contract. The fear is that as soon as he gets his big pay day, his skills will diminish. If the 49ers traded for Cribbs, they'd have to sign him to the deal he is seeking with the Browns.

3. This is a particularly good draft for return men. There were two standouts - Javier Arenas and Jordan Shipley - in last night's championship game. Arenas, a cornerback, also had two interceptions. Would the 49ers fork over a draft pick that could be used to acquire the next Joshua Cribbs, and at a much lower cost?

4. Cribbs is a proven commodity. The 49ers have drafted two potential return men in recent years - Brandon Williams and Rasheed Marshall and neither worked out. Moreover, Cribbs is a favorite inside the locker room and among the fan base. He's a popular guy and a leader. He also attended the same high school as Vernon Davis, whose contract, by the way, expires after next season.

Speaking of Davis, the guy's magical year keeps getting better. Davis was named an honorary captain of the U.S. Curling team and will go to Vancouver next month for the Olympics. Davis, who at this time last year was considered a bust in some circles, has had a year that goes like this: 1. Named a team captain. 2. Given highest team award by teammates. 3. Named a starter in the Pro Bowl. 4. Tied NFL record for touchdowns by a tight end. 5. Goes to Olympics.

One honor Davis may not be proud of: drops. According to STATS LLC, Davis finished tied for first in the NFL in drops. Only Kansas City receiver Dwayne Bowe had as many. Michael "What drops?" Crabtree also finished in the Top 16 in drops this year.

I used to do a Saturday Q & A. Let's resurrect it Twitter-style. Tweet me your questions @mattBarrows and I'll respond in this space. I know you're limited in terms of characters, but try to include your first name and city and state ... i.e., Matt, San Jose, Ca.

-- Matt Barrows

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments
blog comments powered by Disqus


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.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]


May 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Monthly Archives

Ask a question

Please use the form below to submit your question. Because there is a 100-word limit for questions, a word counter is located directly beneath the box where you enter the your question.


49ers Question:

Your letter contains of 100 words allowed.  Count words

Your IP Address has been recorded as and will be included with this submission.