6:54pm: The Raiders have emerged as the frontrunners to land Crabtree, report ESPN’s Adam Caplan and Bill Williamson, via Twitter. The pair expect an agreement as soon as tonight.
1:59pm: More than a month into 2015’s NFL free agent period, former Niners receiver Michael Crabtree is arguably the biggest name still on the board. While it doesn’t appear Crabtree is on the verge of a deal, he’s drawing the most interest from three teams, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, who identifies the Raiders, Dolphins, and Ravens as the wideout’s top suitors.
None of those three clubs is a surprise contestant in the Crabtree sweepstakes. The former first-round pick has already paid a visit to two of those three suitors, having traveled to Oakland and Miami. As for Baltimore, our Rory Parks detailed yesterday how the Ravens are very much in the market for receiving help, so it makes sense that the team would be considering the top free agent at the position.
In 2014, Crabtree appeared in all 16 games for the 49ers, hauling in 68 catches for 698 yards and four scores. While San Francisco was undoubtedly delighted to see Crabtree play a full season after missing the bulk of 2013, those numbers didn’t match his best production in 2012, when he had 85 grabs for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns. I’d bet that the 27-year-old is seeking a deal that pays him for something closer to that 2012 production than his modest 2014 numbers, though perhaps his asking price has come down over the last few weeks.
According to Maiocco, the Niners have kept the door open for a possible return for Crabtree, but he appears set on getting a fresh start somewhere else.