Michael Crabtree has surfaced after largely being a forgotten man, and the New York Giants should take the opportunity to sign him.
He was signed, until he wasn’t. Michael Crabtree participated in a workout for the Arizona Cardinals on Monday, and Pro Football Talk reported he had signed while ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed a contract offer had been made. But the two sides could not agree to terms.
Crabtree was released by the Baltimore Ravens in late February, and there had been no reported interest in him between then and Monday’s workout in Arizona. He started all 16 games for Baltimore last season, but registered the fewest catches (54) since his rookie season in 2009 for 607 yards and three touchdowns. Via ESPN Stats and Information, he was credited with a league-high eight drops as well.
Crabtree was due to make $7 million this season before the Ravens released him. He’s obviously not getting that kind of money now, and the veteran minimum for him is $970,000. An offer of $1-$2 million for this year from the Cardinals should really have gotten it done, so it’s worth wondering what Crabtree asked for.
Asking price aside, one team stands out now as a suitor for Crabtree.
After they traded Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns, Sterling Shepard became the No. 1 wide receiver for the New York Giants. But he has been sidelined by a broken thumb, and while there’s optimism he’ll be ready for Week 1 it’s hardly a guarantee.
Corey Coleman suffered a torn ACL early in camp, which took a depth piece away for the Giants. Golden Tate was brought aboard in free agency, but he’s been hit with a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Tate said a fertility treatment triggered the positive test, but his appeal is sure to fall on deaf ears and the best he can hope for is a reduction in his punishment.
Take Shepard out of the equation, however tentatively, and the Giants would be in line to dress Darius Slayton, Bennie Fowler, Cody Latimer, Russell Shepard and Alonzo Russell as their top-five wide receivers for their season opener Sept. 8 against the Dallas Cowboys. Say what you will about Eli Manning, but a far better quarterback would struggle to raise up that group of wide receivers.
At his best Crabtree has a been a high volume target, with over 100 targets in eight of 10 seasons, along with some ability to win in the red zone (eight or more touchdowns four times in his career). With no other suitors clamoring to sign him, and now a possible black mark trailing him after contract talks with the Cardinals didn’t get to the finish line, any offer should suit him and the Giants have to be thinking about bringing him in.