The addition of free agent pass-catcher Michael Crabtree provides an instant upgrade to the roster of the Arizona Cardinals
Fans of the Arizona Cardinals were waiting patiently. In years past, general manager Steve Keim had made a habit out of adding quality players late in the summer. Would the Arizona executive continue that trend in 2019?
That question was answered emphatically this past Wednesday, when the Cards signed free agent wide receiver Michael Crabtree. The club had flirted with the talented pass-catcher a couple of weeks ago, but had failed to land him. Keim sweetened the Cardinals offer a bit during a second meeting between the two parties, and the deal finally got done.
Crabtree brings a veteran presence to an area of the Arizona roster that is loaded with youngsters. The organization drafted wideouts Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler and KeeSean Johnson back in April, and brought in Christian Kirk and Trent Sherfield last year. Crabtree, along with future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald, can provide knowledge and experience to what has suddenly become a position of youth for the Cards.
The 31-year old’s NFL career got underway back in 2009, when he was drafted 10th-overall by the San Francisco 49ers. In his six seasons with that club, Crabtree tallied 347 receptions for 4,327 yards and 26 touchdowns. The Dallas, Texas native’s most productive campaign came in 2012, when he registered 85 catches,1,105 receiving yards and nine scores.
In 2015, Crabtree departed San Francisco for the Oakland Raiders. His three-year totals with the “Silver and Black” included 232 receptions, 2,543 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns. Crabtree spent 2018 with the Baltimore Ravens, and managed to haul in 54 passes for 607 yards and three scores in 16 starts.
Crabtree arrives in the desert equipped with a distinct knowledge of the Cardinals new “Air Raid” offense. The 6’1, 215 pounder, under the tutelage of head coach Mike Leach, excelled for two seasons at Texas Tech University. In just 26 games at the school, Crabtree caught 231 passes for 3,127 yards and a phenomenal 41 touchdowns for the Red Raiders.
Arizona has done a fantastic job with signing free agents to one-year “prove-it” deals over the past several years. A high percentage of those players have gone on to have outstanding campaigns for the team after being inked to those contracts. There’s a very good chance that Crabtree will achieve that same success for the Cards in 2019.