The San Francisco 49ers added a number of weapons to its receiving corps over the weekend. The team acquired Stevie Johnson via a trade with the Buffalo Bills, and began the fourth round of the NFL draft by selecting Bruce Ellington out of South Carolina.
But with so many bodies and talent in the wide receiving unit for the 2014 season, how long they will all be around in the Bay Area may be a legitimate question.
Michael Crabtree was in line for a long-term contract extension sometime before his current deal expires at season’s end. But because of the team’s new wide receiver additions, the Sacramento Bee believes this may be the final year that Crabtree could be wearing a 49ers jersey.
Per Matt Barrows:
Crabtree, of course, is entering the final year of his rookie deal. 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.
Johnson, 27, signed a five-year, $36.25 million contract with Buffalo in March of 2012. He is set to earn a little more than $5 million in each of the next three seasons.
Crabtree, on the other hand, is entering the last year under his rookie deal in which he’ll make $3.5 million He’s a year younger than Johnson, but likely will demand more money as a free agent.
Both Jackson and Bowe received five-year deals worth between $55 and $56 million deal from Tampa Bay and Kansas City, respectively. Wallace broke the bank with a five-year, $60 million contract with Miami, and Jennings settled for less, taking a five-year, $45 million deal with Minnesota.
Crabtree was second in line behind quarterback Colin Kaepernick for contract extensions. The team initially had difficulty signing him to a deal after he was drafted, and Crabtree maintains the same representation as he did back then. There could be trepidation that more difficult negotiations could occur.