Michael Crabtree contract and the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

We take a look at what 2012 Pro Bowl balloting means for Michael Crabtree's contract.

The release of the latest round of Pro Bowl balloting results got me thinking about something I hadn't thought about in some time: Michael Crabtree's contract. In light of NaVorro Bowman's extension and the various salary cap implications of that and future moves, it is a mildly pertinent topic.

When Michael Crabtree came to terms with the 49ers back in 2009, his contract was a six-year deal, keeping him in San Francisco through 2014. The contract included opportunities to void the final year and get him into free agency earlier. Those opportunities combined Pro Bowl appearances and snap count involvement.

Shortly after the deal was announced, Andrew Brandt broke it down and looked specifically at the Pro Bowl clauses that could void the sixth year. The sixth year could be voided with one of the following three results:

(1) Crabtree makes one Pro Bowl in the first four years of the contract AND in the first five years of the contract, in a year other than the year he makes the Pro Bowl, Crabtree plays in 80% of the team's offensive plays and the team makes the playoffs in that year;

OR

(2) Crabtree makes one Pro Bowl in the first four years of the contract AND in the first five years of the contract, in a year other than the year he makes the Pro Bowl, is named All-NFL and the team makes the playoffs in that year;

OR

(3) Crabtree makes two Pro Bowls in the first five years of the contract.

With the latest round of Pro Bowl results, Crabtree was not among the top five at the wide receiver position, and given the number of big name receivers in the NFC, the odds are pretty slim that he'll make the Pro Bowl this year. That would seem to remove any opportunity to void that final year, keeping Crabtree in red and gold through 2014.

As the 49ers look to keep things together, a Crabtree extension will be one of many decisions the front office will have to make. I'd like to think the 49ers can't keep everybody under the cap, but I've long since decided to trust Trent Baalke and Paraag Marathe. They know what they're doing better than any of us.

NaVorro Bowman's agent is Drew Rosenhaus, and he spoke with the media after NaVorro Bowman. He hit on some obvious points, but his transcript is still worth a read.

I think that when you have special players you have to get them signed regardless of whether they're at the same position or not. You cannot say, ‘Well, because we've got one great inside linebacker, we can't keep the other guy." It just doesn't work that way.

Great players are hard to find. So at the end of the day the 49ers were smart. They found a way to make it work. And the fact that they have all their linebackers signed is very special.

And, again, I take my hat off to them. They're one of the most aggressive teams that I visited. They've got a whole team dedicated to the salary cap. Paraag Marathe is a very dedicated guy. He's got Brian Hampton. They've got a third member who I haven't dealt with directly. But they outsmart a lot of people with the way that they manage the salary cap and the situation.

The best part was that once he finished talking to the media, he went off to chat with Anthony Davis, who happens to be another client of his. The 49ers have numerous Rosenhaus clients, and thankfully they've developed a strong working relationship with him. Gore and Bowman are among the more high profile, but there is a certain stability in working with one agent when you have such a relationship.

Speaking of which, I'm working with Jay Hurley from Niner Cap Hell, and we should be able to provide a bit more consistent salary cap coverage for you. More to come on that, but I'm excited about some of the things he'll potentially be able to do for us.

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