Report: Niners lowering offer to Crabtree

player.jpgAfter I posted a poll question on my blog last week, a high-ranking 49ers official expressed the following sentiment about the results: “Interesting.”

It sure appears as if the 49ers are going with poll option No. 4 – “Move on without him. Lower contract offer, and try to trade rights after March 1, 2010.”


Yahoo! Sports’ Mike Silver, a Press Democrat alum, quotes a 49ers source as saying the club is willing to give Crabtree incentives that push the deal “up
to a dollar less” than the package the Packers gave ninth overall pick
B.J. Raji. The Raji deal is a five-year contract worth $22.5 million in
base salary with a max of $28.5 million. Raji received $17.7 million


“(But) we won’t go over that,” the source told Silver. “Otherwise, we’re going to have the same problem next year, and the year after that . . . “


The 49ers offered Crabtree $16 million guaranteed with the thought that he would play 80 games over five seasons. That works out to $200,000 for each of those games. It is likely that the 49ers are prepared to dock $200,000 in guaranteed money for each game Crabtree remains unsigned.


So it appears as if the 49ers are fine with Crabtree sitting out the season – unless he takes the dwindling offer the franchise has placed in front of him.


When asked earlier today whether the 49ers have modified their offer, coach Mike Singletary said, “At this time in the year, that may be the case. I’m not sure. I didn’t want to hear about it any more after last Friday. I said, ‘Hey, do what you have to do. I’m focused over here.’ So I don’t know if the letter’s actually been sent. I know we talked about it. But at this point, the whole Michael Crabtree thing, you know what I’m going to say. It’s over there. I’m going to focus over here. We have our hands full with the 53 (players) that we have.”


Crabtree has a uniform and helmet in his locker. (There is no “SF” decal on the helmet.) Just as in all the other lockers, there is a towel hanging – ready to be used.


NFL rules state that an unsigned pick has until the Tuesday after the 10th week of the season (Nov. 17) to sign a contract to be eligible to play this season. If he does not sign, the 49ers would control his rights up until the 2010 draft. Any contract signed after Nov. 17 would be a deal that would take effect for the 2010 season.


If Crabtree does not sign, the 49ers would have about seven weeks, beginning March 1, to work a trade. Why would a team trade for Crabtree? If there’s a team that does not want to roll the dice in the draft, they could acquire him in a trade. Clearly, they would have to have a pretty good idea that they’d be able to sign him.


The trade deadline has already passed for the 49ers to trade Crabtree this season. Even if they sign him, they can’t trade him at this point until March 1, at the earliest.


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Ultra-professional cornerback Walt Harris joined the 49ers in Arizona and flew back with the team as he continus his rehab from a torn right ACL in the offseason. Harris, 35, is ineligible to play this season, as he’s on injured reserve. But he said he plans to play again. He does not want his career to end with an injury. Harris’ contract with the 49ers at the conclusion of the season, so his future remains up in the air.


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