Much of the last few years has seen plenty of complaints from fans about Michael Crabtree. Much of the criticism has been based more on speculation and media conjecture, as opposed to cold, hard facts. Once in a while we get to hear from 49ers players or coaches, who have generally had good things to say about Crabtree. Add Trent Baalke into the mix.
The 49ers GM took part in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio and sounds excited about Crabtree's potential heading into 2012. Thanks to Cam Inman for transcribing the interview:
Also high on the other guys ... Crab is crab. He’s a heck of a receiver. His skill sets are going to shine even brighter this year because he’s going to have a full offseason. He’s been working tirelessly. He’s been involved with the entire process this offseason up to this point and plans on being here throughout.
People are quick to overlook the foot injuries that have plagued Crabtree since a stress fracture kept him from running at the Combine. He missed out on minicamp before his rookie season because of the foot injury and then missed training camp because of his holdout. Following his rookie season he attended OTAs, but missed most of training camp with a neck injury. Last year foot injuries limited him throughout the offseason and through training camp.
So basically, fingers crossed and knock on wood, Michael Crabtree could be looking at his first completely healthy offseason. Even with all the missed time, I still think he took a solid enough step forward as he led the team in receiving. He struggled a bit in the postseason, but in reality, aside from Vernon Davis, the passing game as a whole struggled in the postseason.
So no, it is not time to trade Michael Crabtree. I get frequent tweets and see plenty of comments about people suggesting Crabtree is going to slide to the rear of the depth chart and should be traded. Assuming he can stay healthy throughout the offseason, I would be quite surprised not to see him take another step forward. I could very well see him turning into a 75-80 catch, 1,000 yard receiving guy in 2012. It is possible he doesn't reach those numbers due to the sheer volume of weapons that will be on display, but I think he still takes a step forward in his game.