Are the sharks circling Crabtree?
Any time a blue-chip player like Michael Crabtree commits to an agent, you’ll find several other agents who will say, “I almost had him. I was his second choice.”
It now appears that at least one other agent group is circling in the water like sharks smelling blood, hoping Crabtree will change his mind about his agent, Eugene Parker, however unlikely that may be.
A reliable source in the agent community has told me that that at least one other agent has reached out to Crabtree to see if he can “offer any assistance” to end the stalemate with the 49ers.
Any time a player is having tough time with a negotiation, you can almost count on other agents reaching out to him, wanting to play the role of white knight. The agents assume very little risk in making this move because the player doesn’t want to report him to his current agent or the NFL Players Association. The player simply doesn’t want to go through the hassle of being part of an intense grievance process and being looked upon by his peers and teammates -- some of whom may be working with the soliciting agent -- as a snitch.
During the recruiting process, a losing agent may have built a great relationship with the player, his family or even his best friend. I can virtually guarantee you that some calls and texts have been fired in the direction of Crabtree and his people by these agents.
I’ve heard that there’s a great deal of depth and strength in the relationship between Parker and Crabtree. But I also know that as time lapses and the stakes mount, their relationship will be tested. Eugene will and has become an easy target for other agents because of this particular impasse. Regardless of the strategy, philosophy and motivations of the Crabtree-Parker camp, agents will spin this holdout on the recruiting trail as an ill-advised move orchestrated solely by Parker.
From a public relations standpoint, Crabtree -- if he listens to the whispers and opts to make a change -- can fire Parker and use him as a scapegoat, placing the entirety of the blame for the stalemate on the agent. But Eugene is no fool; he knows this is a possibility, which leads me to believe the holdout might be driven by the player.
I don’t know Parker personally, but I know of his reputation, his history and his philosophy. He’s known as a tough but fair negotiator and an architect. He’s all about the art of the deal. He doesn’t play concierge like other high-profile agents. He’s not seeking fame. He simply focuses his attention on putting together superior deals without worrying about other agents, the media or next year’s recruiting class. He’s a seasoned and cerebral pro who’s made millions of dollars for himself and his clients.
He’s also a cool character, so if the sharks indeed are circling, he’ll remain calm and stick to his plan.
Follow me on Twitter: jackbechta