Everyone remembers Michael Crabtree’s contract holdout after being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round in 2009. The wide receiver threatened to sit out his rookie season and re-enter the 2010 NFL Draft before signing a six year, $32 million deal that lasts through 2014.
Crabtree will make $4.5 million next season, then is free to bolt in free agency.
Could the holdout — the longest in 49ers history — foreshadow Crabtree’s exit in 2014?
He would be idiotic not to test the free agent market with his value, catching 85 passes for 1,105 yards last season for nine touchdowns. It was surely a breakout year for Crabtree, who is poised for more success in 2013-2014.
“I’ve been quiet the past four years on who’s the No. 1 receiver,” Crabtree told 49ers.com. “I try not to talk about that, but I’m going into my fifth year. It’s really time to take that responsibility, be No. 1 and go out and do your job and give the fans what they want to see and give the coaches what they expect of you and that’s greatness, or be the best I can be.”
Mike Sando of ESPN suggests that Crabtree will demand No. 1 receiver-type money, which may be too much if the 49ers want to bring back quarterback Colin Kaepernick as well.
A lot can chance between now and next year, but based on Crabtree’s history with contracts, it is a safe assumption that resigning him long-term may be a challenge for the 49ers.