It took Michael Crabtree some time to find a team in the offseason through free agency, but it seems, at least after a few days of training camp, that signing with the Oakland Raiders was a good choice.
Crabtree has been the stand out performer among wide receivers for the Raiders (which might not mean much, although there is Amari Cooper hanging around), although he does have a tendency of doing very well before the season begins and slightly disappoint (except for one specific season) once the real action begins.
Crabtree wasn’t exactly in high demand around the league a few months ago. The injury that made him miss most of 2013 and his poor performances on the field last season didn’t really help his value and his high salary demands. In the end, he signed a deal worth $3.2 million with the Raiders for just one year, hoping that it helps him build up a reputation again.
What reputation? Crabtree, a first round draft pick in 2009 by the 49ers, had a big 2012, connecting very well with Colin Kaepernick, finishing the season with 85 receptions, 1105 yards and 9 touchdowns. He played well in the playoffs as well, but the 49ers ended up losing to the Ravens in the Super Bowl. A year later he was under the spotlight as the 49ers lost to the Seahawks in the NFC championship game, with Richard Sherman keeping the ball out of his Crabtree’s hand on the final play.
Never the fastest of players, Crabtree has been more about his good hands and relative size when battling with cornerbacks and safeties in the air. If he doesn’t get injured and Derek Carr is indeed the quarterback the Raiders have been waiting for all this time, this story might have a positive twist in it, although that rarely happens or lingers for too long in Oakland.