NFL Rookie Battle Royale: Week 7

For this week, I missed most of the action from being in San Diego for work, but after going through each game, looks like the rookies had a good week. Too bad my Vikings did not. Regardless, we also had a debut we had waited almost half a season for, and a few performances that impressed beyond expectations.

Mark Sanchez

Dirty finally shook off the interception bug, even though it was against one of the worst teams around. He threw for only 143, but had 2 TDs to offset that. Im guessing a lot of Jets fans were just happy they pitched a shutout, but I expected a little more from the rookie that is fixing to be the top value guy for the year.

Shonn Greene

For the first time, Sanchez wasn’t the focus of the rookie lens this week, as Shonn Greene had a ridiculous game at 144 and 2 TDs. One TD came after it was already decided, but he is the front runner right now for the rookie of the week. Leon Washington must have had an injury, and Greene did a great job filling in. Best game of any rookie RB so far, crazy that it came against the Raiders, right?

Michael Crabtree

Im not going to take him out of the graveyard quite yet, but he had a respectable debut with 5 catches for 56 yards. At least he showed he can be somewhat productive, though I think he will get better as he shakes off the rust. He didn’t explode, but definitely was the namesake for a few creative jerseys I saw in the 49er bar in San Diego.

Mike Wallace

Its tough for any Pittsburgh rookie to fly under the radar, but in terms of talk, Wallace is putting up one hell of a rookie campaign without much coverage. His values were high to begin with because he plays for the Steelers, but 72 and a TD will definitely help you out. Wallace’s TD was a good showing as to why the Vikings pass defense may cost them a trip deep in the playoffs, but he played a great game either way.

Hakeem Nicks

Nicks showed AGAIN why he is probably going to be the rookie WR of the year. Another TD, 80 yards, and a league lead in receiving TDs after a Knox mediocre game. Nicks has become a key cog in the NY passing offense, even though they got beat by the Cardinals.

Percy Harvin

Harvin was back returning kicks again after he aggravated his shoulder last week, and I was surprised to see him fly. Harvin ran back his second TD of the year, giving him 4 total TDs so far, as well as a few that set the Vikings up near the 50. He also caught 3 for 42, so a great game for a guy who is banged up.

Brian Hartline
Hartline caught 3 for 94 in a Dolphins game that they should have won, but they played like crap in the 4th quarter. He is a guy that I didnt know much about coming into the year, but he went to OSU, so you know he is going to get a bump this week in value. He does have a TD from week 4 against Buffalo, but hasnt done much else besides this game (10 for 157). I also dont believe he was a Rookie Premiere guy.
Austin Collie
This guy had another TD this week (though the game was over when he did), and continues to make me scratch my head as to where he is coming from. It helps when Peyton Manning is throwing you the ball, but still is impressive when you are pretty much unknown.
Beanie Wells

He finally got into the action with a TD, and against a good rush defense to boot. He ended up with 67 yards, so it wasn’t a stellar performance, but rushing is not the focus of his team with Fitz and Boldin around. Hightower is still getting all the goal line carries, which means that Beainie is not going to have many TDs. Im still not sold on him.

The Rookie Graveyard

Darrius Heyward-Bey – Its really too bad that he was drafted to the Raiders so high, as I think he could have been much better in a place that isnt a graveyard for the whole team.

Beanie Wells – had a TD, but still in the midst of a disappointing year.

Michael Crabtree – After holding out for the first 6 games, he needs to do better than 56 yards before getting out of here.

Brandon Pettigrew – Bye week.

Crabtree Signs, Realizes Agent Is A Douche

The hard part is over, Crabtree has finally signed a six year deal with the Niners. He had missed four games, and the Niners were not going to give in, so he decided that his prospects were better to sign rather than sit out. The problem was really his agent, who was dead-set on bucking the slot payment process for draft picks, all while cementing his reputation with the NFL. However, after Deion Sanders (also with the same agent) said that other teams were willing to give Crabby what he wanted if he didnt sign, the Niners went a terminator style rampage.

Its been rumored on PFT that if Sanders had in fact cooperated with the subsequent tampering investigation against the Jets, the agent would have faced a lot of scrutiny he wasnt looking for. Thus, Crabtree did what he should have done in July. Eugene Parker, the antagonist in this story, has had a history of draft picks holding out, and after this he may not get many more rookies to sign with him. Not only did he screw his player out of training camp, preseason, and the first four games by instilling greed and stupidity, but he may have cost himself a lot of future business.
All in all, the 49ers were the victors here, and I am so glad they are. Crabtree was put in his place, and now will have to deal with Mad Mike Singletary in the locker room. Its a win win for them. Crabby may have a good rest of the season, but as has been said on a lot of other sites, every dropped pass and every mistake will now be attributed to his idiotic ploy to buck the system.
Hey, at least our Crabtree will finally start being worth something, right? No? Crap.

Michael Crabtree and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Really Bad Season

A deadline has been set for Crabtree to sign with the 49ers, and im sure there are a lot of you who are cursing the heavens every time you pull one of his cards. I think Crabtree’s stupidity is one of the saddest displays in terms of team relations in a long time, as his agent’s greed or his greed are probably going to prevent him from having a productive career wherever he ends up. Really, the most important thing for collectors in this situation is what to expect from his cards if he does go back and re-enters the draft.

Im not quite sure if you can consider this year’s cards to be rookies if he is re-drafted by a different team. Obviously, for players who are injured and never make it onto the field in their first season a la Chad Greenway, their cards are still considered rookies, so Crabtree may fall under that umbrella. He will be with a different team, and was not forced off the field in his first year, so he may actually have a few pre-rookie cards and then go to the premiere again next year for his real rookie cards. A player sitting out during the season does have a huge implication on his marketing and card production, so its not yet clear how the companies will react to his decision in the coming months.

Oddly enough, im curious to see if he is even put into the later sets if he decides to be drafted again, as producing cards of him in the wrong uni on purpose could be pretty frustrating to people who pull them. Though, on the other hand, they paid for his jerseys and experience at the premiere, and the cards are in production already in some cases, which brings up more quetions. This could lead to major problems if the situaiton remains at a stalemate.

Regardless of what happens with his contract, Crabtree does have a bunch of talent that could present a favorable opportunity for someone looking to take a chance on him in next year’s draft. His primadonna nature has already labeled him as a problem player, which could negatively effect his status even more so than it already has been by sitting out for a year. He has already cost himself millions, if not more that could stem from him not developing at all during his time off the field. Players like Benn, Williams and Bryant will be coming straight from a full year of playing, thus making their untainted ability to be more attractive than Crabtree’s ability and lack of humility.

Personally, Id get rid of your stuff while you still can.

Interesting NFL Notes

A few things came through the newswire today that were pretty good stories. One of them featuring a player that many of us have some money into. The other was just cool.

First, Crabtree is looking more and more like he is going to wait out the season, so the Niners lowered their initial offer to him. I laugh. Crabtree is being a little bitch and is asking for the same or more money than Hey Bey’s 7th pick contract, and I think its great that the Niners arent budging. Obviously Hey Bey was a reach at 7, but that doesnt mean you have the right to call that into question as a player. You get your slot, and thats it, deal with it and play football. Michael Oher was asked at the draft if he minded being the last guy in the green room when he was picked by the Ravens at #23, he said he wouldnt have cared if he was the last pick of the 7th round. He just wanted to play, and was happy to be with a great team. That is the attitude I want on my team. If I were the Niners, I would do my best to sign him, but I wouldnt cave to his wants. Let him try again, show him what he was missing. He is crying over a few million dollars, see what he says when he loses 10-15 million over the year, plus an entire salary for the current season. What an epic fail.
In homersota news, the second story was talking about AD and his impressive 67 yard run against the Browns. A few people are calling it the best of the last few years, I am in agreement. I mean, the player fist to defender face ratio alone was higher than I had ever seen on a single run, and it definitely sent a message for the rest of the year. Peterson commented that it was his favorite so far, something that Ryan Longwell concurred with. Longwell even called his kid, a bid AD fan, so that he could turn on the TV to watch the replay. Im not sure why your kid wouldnt watch to begin with, but whatever. Peterson should have a tremendous year as long as the pieces in place stay that way, as we saw what could happen against a defense that is middle of the pack.
Be sure to check out Pro Football Talk, Im really liking the site. Even though they dont always say the smartest things, the up to date news is worth it.

Dealing With Rookie Contract Situations and Picking Targets

What to do about Michael Crabtree?

Im sure it’s a question the niners ask themselves with each practice, wondering what they are going to do with the absence of their top draft pick. Most of us have come to the understanding that he wont be sitting out the season and re-entering the draft, but he is going to hold out possibly into the season. That is bad karma for him, and even worse for the collectors that want him as their target player for 2009. The question for collectors is what to do with players like him during and after their seemingly endless holdouts.

If you are a Michael Crabtree collector, I think you are echoing the sentiment that your road for this year is going to be a long one. You probably have already picked up quite a few of his cards, and most likely those cards have already dropped in value. We know that the longer the holdout happens, the more his cards will drop, but could that actually be a good thing? Personally, I am not going to go out of my way to pick up more Crabtree stuff, but if he was my guy, I might actually consider picking up a few things once the holdout reaches the third week of pre-season. If it reaches the third week, that is. Crabtree has freakish talent and should be a good receiver, when he plays. Fickle collectors may give up on him as the media demonizes his attitude, but his talent should be enough to keep you on the bandwagon.

For the rest of us, its going to be a pretty tough sell to get us to buy some Crabtree stuff, which means that you need to hold if you pull anything. Its always been buy low, sell high, and right now is not the time to sell anything of Crabtree. I would say, if you are in the market to sell some of the Crabtree stuff, wait until the first big game he has, even if it is next year. He will have a big game, don’t doubt that, but with his spot on the team in flux, his playing time is dropping by the moment. He will need to prove his worth, even if he gets the contract he is looking for, so wait.

I would focus on people like Moreno and Donald Brown, who should have pretty good outcomes in their current situation. Even people like Shonn Greene and LeSean McCoy would be good at their prices right now because of their second tier values and first tier potential. Maclin and Harvin also seem to be good bets in Minnesota and Philly, as their parts of the offense should be bigger than most of the other receivers.

I guess the best way to approach things at this moment would be from a team collector’s standpoint right now, while watching how the depth chart pans out for any other possible targets. That way, if you end up with a bunch of stuff from the team you collect, its okay if that player is third string for the first year.

See, prospecting and football don’t mix all that well, especially with many of the first round guys making all their value in the first season they play. That’s why its good to develop a collection target later, once you know a little bit more about the role a certain rookie will play. Then, you can pick someone who may not turn out to be the next Mike Williams or Troy Williamson.