Not every player is going to be a superstar on a football team….and that’s a good thing. Every successful football team has a large number of role players who have a specific role and fill it well. Tom Crabtree has made a living the last few years by being that guy for the Packers. Crabtree was a bit of a surprise when he made the team in 2010, and since that time he has made a living playing special teams and being an extra blocker on offense. Now Crabtree is entering the restricted free agent market and the question becomes how much worth is there to the Packers in keeping such a specialist around.
A successful season for Crabtree can involve some significant contributions on special teams, a few touchdown catches, and solid blocking (especially in the running game). In some ways Crabtree accomplished this in 2012, but ultimately he seemed to fall short of what is expected of him. Crabtree had some impressive highlights this past season including the amazing fake field goal against Chicago and a long touchdown reception against the Cardinals. This is all well nice and good, but what about…well you know the stuff he’s supposed to be doing? You remember, all that blocking and tackling and stuff, which is supposed to be his niche. I would say not good considering that the Packers’ website does not credit him with one single tackle for the year and his blocking was questionable at best most of the year.
Or put another way, Crabtree is the worst Packers entering free agency not named Erik Walden according to PFF. While PFF isn’t exactly Gospel truth, I don’t necessarily disagree with them here either.
The last couple years the Packers have had an over abundance of tight ends, each with their own specialization. The problem for Crabtree is that his specialization was filled by Ryan Taylor as well. Taylor had a better year on special teams and about the same type of year in blocking. The good news for Crabtree is that somehow Taylor found a way to be a worse target in the receiving game than Crabtree.
Likelihood of Re-Signing
Despite the fact that I’m not sounding like president of Crabtree’s fan club, I do believe there is a good chance that he is signed back for 2013. He is a restricted free agent so offering him the lowest tender is not a terrible idea. If another team wants him, fine, but otherwise the Packers will retain a tough scrappy player….something they could certainly use.
Estimated odds of re-signing: 60%