The St. Louis Rams now have all of their second day picks under contract or at least having agreed to terms, enough to get them into camp on-time when rookies report Thursday. When the news broke yesterday that the team had agreed to terms with the last two second day picks who had yet to sign, Rams VP Kevin Demoff again expressed confidence that the team's first and second round picks would also be in camp this week, having reached a deal on their rookie contracts. The prognostication still looks good for second round pick LB James Laurinaitis since the slots around him are starting to fill in with signed players, but there could be a problem with the Rams first round pick, OT Jason Smith, the second player taken in the draft. And who do you have to thank for that problem? None other than WR Michael Crabtree, the 10th overall pick by, who else, the 49ers.
League sources are whispering that the Texas Tech wide receiver wants a contract resembling a top three pick, and his and his agent's demands to break the slotting system have monkey-wrenched the entire process of getting the rest of the top ten picks signed. With Smith picked second overall, demands like that could really change the negotiating process. It wouldn't be a shocker for an agent to at least see where this goes, because if Crabtree and his agent break down the slotting system, then those high draft picks get more leverage in talks with their team. Hopefully, the Rams and Smith can avoid this, since they've already begun talking, reportedly.
Oh, and Rams fans will appreciate this. Crabtree's agent, none other than Eugene Parker, the man who engineered Steven Jackson's holdout last year at this time. Parker's notorious for this kind of stuff (which does make him a good agent), and there were even rumors last year that Jackson was considering dumping Parker, believing that his holdout hurt his status. The Jackson holdout, while unpopular, makes much more sense than the Crabtree thing. Jackson had established himself as a top back, and entering the prime of his career was entitle to ask for a contract consistent to what players of his caliber were earning. Crabtree's a rookie, yet to see a single NFL snap. Even as the 10th pick, he'll be one of the league's highest paid WRs. Combine that with the fact that he's a rookie and you can see the absurdity of his and Parker's demands.
As a fan, I can't say this enough, but let's hope that Smith and the Rams can get it worked out in spite of the Crabtree situation. Oh, and if the Crabtree holdout continues anyway, well, that's the Niners problem.