It's curious that the day that Crabtree signed the Jets made a high profile trade regarding perhaps their biggest need, wide receiver.
Mike Sando, the ESPN blogger for the NFC West, chalks this up to coincidence. He states, "...the timing of these transactions is probably a coincidence. NFL rules would prohibit the 49ers from trading Crabtree's rights before March. The Jets acquired Edwards with the 2009 season in mind."
But why would the Jets make such a strong move right now? One simple reason: they were no longer able to pursue Crabtree.
I think it went a little like this: The vice grips started when the 49ers started investigating the charges. This probably forced the Jets to sniff elsewhere. When the 49ers formally accused the Jets of tampering it ensured the Jets would never be able to go after Crabtree in next year's draft, or trade for his rights this year. That would look ridiculously shady. It was time for the Jets to forget about Crabtree and start looking to fill their receiver void elsewhere.
Any way you slice it, we can only reason that the best move the 49ers made was accusing the Jets of tampering. At the very least, the 49ers should see Commissioner Goodell come down hard on the Jets. At most? The 49ers not only get Crabtree, but an improved draft position in 2010 as well. It would be little solace after this drama, but solace nonetheless.