Injuries limited Michael Crabtree
to just five games last season. (Simon Bruty/SI)
When the offseason began, the San Francisco 49ers seemingly had three priorities: the contracts of head coach Jim Harbaugh, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
Rumblings suggested the 49ers had prioritized extensions for both Harbaugh and Kaepernick in recent weeks, but noise surrounding Crabtree has been far less loud.
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Might that be because San Francisco isn't as likely to extend Crabtree as originally anticipated? It's possible, at least according to the Sacramento Bee, who hints the acquisition of fellow wideout Stevie Johnson may result in the 49ers not being as eager to extend the former Texas Tech product.
The 49ers didn't trade up. In fact, they didn't draft a wideout until the fourth round [Bruce Ellington]. But they traded for veteran Stevie Johnson, who is signed through the next three seasons at salaries that are lower -- perhaps significantly lower -- than what Crabtree will want. The bottom line: The 49ers' trade for Johnson may signal that they don't intend to sign Michael Crabtree to a long-term extension.
Crabtree is clearly the superior player to Johnson, though, the 49ers are likely to find themselves dealing with cap issues (especially after a new deal with Kaepernick) in the coming years, and paying Crabtree top wideout money may not be the most effective strategy moving forward.