San Francisco Knows a Thing or Two About Tampering
Two of the most persistent stories circling around this young NFL season are: 1) Michael Crabtree and his agent’s continued bungling of his career before it has even started; and 2) Rex Ryan’s man-crush on opposing teams’ wide receivers.
Within the last week, these two stories converged when the San Francisco 49ers filed charges with the NFL offices accusing the New York Jets of tampering with their unsigned first round draft pick, Crabtree. While Rex Ryan vehemently denies ever talking to Crabtree, his argument rings a little hollow after he’s already been accused of contacting Brandon Marshall during his own contractual hissy fit with the Broncos during the pre-season. Now the NFL’s version of Kelvin Sampson was able to laugh off the Marshall allegations due to Josh McDaniels and the rest of Denver’s organization having no clue how to run an NFL team. (Good luck Broncs fans with that Orton to Stokely connection; it won’t get you very far.)
Unfortunately, Ryan and the Jets made a big mistake when they tampered with the 49ers.
1) You don’t tamper with Samurai Mike. (Little known fact: this was the first draft of lyrics for the Super Bowl Shuffle…. “My friends all say don’t tamper with Samurai Mike if you ain’t looking for a fight. But I’m not here to start no trouble I’m just here to do the Super Bowl Shuffle.”)
2) The 49ers were guilty of tampering just last year! You had to bet they’d be paying extra attention this year to prove they’re not the only organization that did it.
If you remember, the 49ers were charged and found guilty of contacting Lance Briggs’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and interfering with a player under contract during the season. As a result of this indiscretion, the 49ers lost their fifth round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft and had to swap their third round pick with the Bears, dropping from the 7th pick in the round to the 12th. That got me to thinking: how did such a stupid move cost the Niners or benefit the Bears?
First, I looked to the fifth round pick that the 49ers lost. Oddly enough, the Bears were the next team to draft after the forfeited pick. The Bears picked up Zack Bowman (CB-Nebraska) with the 142nd pick of the Draft. You may have heard of him after his decent rookie year, a stellar training camp and the recent news that he was replacing the Interceptor, Nathan Vasher, in the Bears’ starting lineup.
Next, I looked to the 3rd round picks that changed hands in last year’s dispute. The Bears were able to nab Earl Bennett (WR-Vanderbilt) with their move up to the 70th pick in the Draft. What we didn’t realize at the time was that this was only the first domino to fall in Jerry Angelo’s master plan to get the Messiah of the Midway, Jay Cutler, onto the Bears’ roster. Enjoy Mark Sanchez while you can Jets fans because you’ll be witnessing him force a trade to San Fran next year to throw TD’s to the USC wideout that Singletary drafts (say Damian Williams?).
While I had no problem with the Bears selection of the extremely productive Bennett when he came out of college, looking at the Bears’ top 3 WR’s after the first two weeks, I see Devin Hester (listed generously at 5-11), Johnny Knox (6-0) and Bennett (6-0). Scrolling down past the Bears’ second pick of the 3rd Round, Marcus Harrison (DT – Arkansas, 90th pick, unimpressive), the New York Giants were able to nab Mario Manningham with the 95th pick (5-11, surprised me as everyone is promoting him as the next Plaxico Burress (6′tall) after his 13 catches for 208 yards and 2 TD performance during the first two weeks). How nice would that quartet look on the field? If there are lessons to be learned from this, they are a) never talk to Drew Rosenhaus if you don’t have to, it will only get you in trouble; and b) don’t trust a Ryan, inevitably they will do something stupid, like get into a power struggle with your head coach named Mike Ditka, and cost you a chance at repeating as Super Bowl Champs.