The New York Jets just can’t avoid controversy.
A week after former head coach Eric Mangini and GM Mike Tannenbaum were accused of not properly reporting Brett Favre’s injury last season, and a day after a big win over the New England Patriots, the Jets are being accused by the San Francisco 49ers of tampering with first-round pick Michael Crabtree, the New York Daily News reports.
The 49ers’ contract talks with the 10th overall pick in April’s NFL draft have been at a stalemate for weeks, and the Jets reportedly contacted Crabtree’s agent to discuss the possibility of acquiring his rights from San Francisco. Crabtree has shown no willingness to accept the 49ers’ five-year offer, which includes $16 million guaranteed, because it’s not up to par with the deal Darrius Heyward-Bey received from the Oakland Raiders, and Crabtree believes that he’s the better receiver.
San Francisco must either sign the former Texas Tech star by Nov. 17 or trade his rights by Oct. 20. Otherwise, the 22-year-old will reenter the draft pool next spring. The Jets are interested in trading for the disgruntled wideout, as they continue to search for an elite young target to pair with rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez.
It’s not immediately clear exactly what prompted the 49ers to file tampering allegations, but Jets head coach Rex Ryan was quick to dismiss them.
“We’ll let the NFL figure that one out,” the first-year head coach said on ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning. “I think it’s ridiculous, personally.”
Whether this is just the 49ers grasping at straws, or the Jets legitimately negotiating with a player they do not control, the Crabtree saga and chapter one of Rex Ryan’s career as a head coach just got a whole lot more interesting.