The San Francisco 49ers don’t plan on being title contenders for only a few years and going away, so locking up and extending contracts without destroying their cap situation is important, which is why they’re hoping to conclude their negotiations with Michael Crabtree as soon as possible, hoping to even get something of a discount.
The 49ers have been moving through players this off-season and getting deals signed. Colin Kaepernick stole the show with his extension that is filled with bonuses and incentives, less guaranteed money. The 49ers, who recently extended their deal with defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and are also aiming to wrap things up with Mike Iupati (left guard) and Vernon Davis (tight end), will hope Crabtree, unlike Alex Boone, doesn’t prove to be troublesome.
One thing the 49ers are counting on is Crabtree’s injuries. Not that they’re happy with him missing 11 games last season, but they’re hoping that the (almost) 27 year-old wide receiver takes an offer that’s based on bonuses and certain achievement incentives and less on guaranteed money, leaving them free to keep as much of this team together for longer, while not committing too much to someone who has been productive since joining the team in 2009, but is an injury risk.
Crabtree played in only five games last season, catching 19 passes for 284 yards and one touchdown, but his presence immediately makes Kaepernick a much better and more confident quarterback, which we saw in the playoffs until his usual kryptonite, playing in Seattle against the Seahawks, came back to haunt him. Crabtree was coming off a 1105-yards season in 2012, also catching a career best nine touchdown passes.
Crabtree didn’t come off all that well when the season ended for the Niners in January. He refused to shake hands with Richard Sherman at the end of the NFC Championship game which led to the Sherman rant on television and some taunting between the two through the media, leading to the exposure of why exactly there’s is so much animosity between the two. Crabtree has at least two more games against him this season.
Crabtree remains Kaepernick’s number one option on offense, and his presence makes him look like a very good quarterback instead of a shaky one when it comes to passing. Obviously, there are better or equal wide receivers in this league, but why break up such a successful and productive connection between the two if it’s achievable at a price the team is willing to pay?