The Tampa Bay Buccaneers certainly didn’t need to break the bank to pry tight end Tom Crabtree away from the Green Bay Packers.
According to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Crabtree agreed to a deal worth just $1.6 million over two years—or $800,000 a season. The Packers were unwilling to go any higher than one year and $700,000, and Crabtree made the financially easy decision and signed with Tampa Bay Friday.
— Bob McGinn (@BobMcGinn) March 16, 2013
The league minimum for a third-year player in 2013 is $630,000.
The Packers decided earlier this week against tendering Crabtree, who ended 2012 as a restricted free agent.
Green Bay had the opportunity to give Crabtree an original-round tender at a cost of $1.323 million in 2013, which likely would have fended off all advances from other teams. Instead, general manager Ted Thompson decided to let Crabtree become unrestricted and hope he could get the 27-year-old tight end back on a more team-friendly deal.
The decision backfired, but Thompson’s reluctance to go above one year and $700,000 is evidence enough that bringing back Crabtree wasn’t a high priority. The Packers easily could have matched a two-year deal worth $1.6 million, given their current cap situation.
Crabtree expressed disappointment in not being able to work out a deal with the Packers, who signed him off the street during the 2009 season.
But with the contract numbers known from both the Packers and Buccaneers, it’s hard to blame Crabtree for leaving Green Bay for a team clearly more willing to invest both money and years.
Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.