49ers Working To Extend Michael Crabtree

While Alex Boone continues his hold out in the hopes of securing a new contract, the 49ers have been busy handing out extensions to a number of other players. Colin Kaepernick and Joe Staley have both received fresh deals over the past several months, and Glenn Dorsey got two years tacked onto his contract today. San Francisco apparently isn’t done through, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter) that the team’s next extension target is receiver Michael Crabtree.

While Niners general manager Trent Baalke had previously stated that there was no deadline by which talks had to cease, Rapoport says that the team wishes for negotiations to conclude by the start of the regular season. If an agreement has not been reached, a new deal won’t be discussed until next offseason. While Rapoport notes that there has been “progress” in the parties’ dialogue, it sounds like San Francisco is willing to take a hardline stance, with the aim of getting a pact completed soon.

For his part, Crabtree sounds receptive to a new deal — Rapoport tweets that while the 26-year-old obviously wants to earn top-of-the-market receiver money, he is willing to do so through incentives, rather than demanding a exorbitant base salary. With his history of injuries, Crabtree probably doesn’t have much of a choice in the matter, as the 49ers are likely unwilling to guarantee much money to a player who has had a difficult time staying on the field. Additionally, signing a new deal now could be also be beneficial to Crabtree, as an injury-riddled contract year would surely tank his value heading into free agency.

As our Luke Adams noted when examining Crabtree as an Extension Candidate last month, the recent contracts signed by Eric Decker ($15MM guaranteed) and DeSean Jackson ($16MM guaranteed) should set the floor for the 49er. However, with Crabtree amenable to an incentive-based structure, perhaps a deal could coalesce that resembles that of Kaepernick — a modest guarantee, with escalators based on performance. Such a contract probably wouldn’t be team results-based (as Kaepernick’s is), as receivers don’t have as much of an impact on wins and losses as do quarterbacks. But an extension based on future individual production might be manageable, especially if it contains agreeable injury protection language.

Crabtree has been largely successful since entering the NFL as the 10th overall pick in 2009. From 2009-2012 (omitting his injury-riddled 2013), the Texas Tech product averaged 65 receptions for 836 yards and five touchdowns. 2012 was his best season, as he caught balls from both Kaepernick and Alex Smith, establishing new career highs in receptions (85), receiving yards (1,105), and touchdowns (9). He was just as dynamic in the postseason, compiling 285 yards and three touchdowns through the air and helping San Francisco reach the Super Bowl, where he nearly hauled in a game-winning touchdown on the team’s final drive.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

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