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Michael Crabtree: Signing, Trading, Re-drafting

A few folks in our existing Michael Crabtree thread threw out the idea of trading Michael Crabtree.  While I don't see that as an option, it's led to a lot of discussion.  As has the whole idea of Crabtree re-entering the draft pool.

So, I thought I'd take a look at the collective bargaining agreement and see what it has to say about potential worst case scenarios for the 49ers if they can't come to terms with Crabtree (although I think they'll work it out).  Section 4(b) is probably the most important part for this particular discussion:



Section 4. Signing of Drafted Rookies:
(a) A drafted player may accept the Required Tender at any time up to and including the Tuesday
following the tenth week of the regular season immediately following the Draft, at 4:00 p.m. New York time . . .

(b) If a Drafted Rookie has not signed a Player Contract during the period from the date of such Draft to
the thirtieth day prior to the first Sunday of the regular season
: (i) the Club that drafted the player may not
thereafter trade
to another Club either its exclusive negotiating rights to such player or any Player Contract that
it signs with such player for the player’s initial League Year; and (ii) the Club that drafted the player is the only
Club with which the player may sign a Player Contract until the day of the Draft in the subsequent League Year,
at which time such player is eligible to be drafted in the subsequent League Year’s Draft by any Club except the
Club that drafted him in the initial Draft.
(After the Tuesday following the tenth week of the regular season, the
player and the Club may only sign a Player Contract for future League Year(s)).

Thoughts and brief analysis after the jump...

Part b is by far the most important part.  If I'm reading it correctly, the 49ers can trade Michael Crabtree up until approximately August 14, a week from tomorrow (give or take a day).  After that they would not be able to trade him.

If they don't sign Crabtree to a contract by the Tuesday after week 10 of this season, he is not eligible to play in 2009.  However, the 49ers retain negotiating rights up until the start of the 2010 draft.  At that point they would lose those rights and would not be allowed to select Crabtree in the draft (not that they would).  So, if they sign Crabtree anytime after Tuesday/Week 10, the contract would appear to begin with the 2010 season.

Personally, I don't think it will come to this.  I view any threats, real or otherwise, to enter next year's draft as merely negotiating tactics.  Very stupid negotiating tactics.  While it would certainly be a pain to the 49ers to have no 2009 1st round pick on their roster, Michael Crabtree is the one with everything to lose and nothing to gain.  Mike Sando made the point perfectly:

Receiving money now beats receiving money later. He would have to earn more on a 2010 contract agreement just to break even. He also could not know how teams would view him.

I'd be willing to bet a whole lot of money that Crabtree would drop from #10 in the draft.  Even if he managed to stay in the first round (no guarantee), a drop to anything below 15 would likely mean significantly less than he could easily guarantee himself by agreeing to a #10 slot contract.

No, I don't see that happening at all.  Michael Crabtree will be a 49er.  I think that's one reason I'm not in quite the tizzy that some folks have gotten into.  It's a pain in the butt, rather disappointing and overall a general annoyance, but the man is going to be a 49er.  It may take many weeks for it to happen, but it will happen.