There has been a lot of discussion here on NN about what happens with contract extensions/free agency over the next few years. Props to Brother Girth for having a very detailed FanPost about the nature of 2014 extensions and, more directly related to this post, Tre had the 90-in-90 post on Crabtree.
The recent posts on these topics and Crabtree's Achilles injury have had me (and, others I'm sure) thinking about what happens next year, since 2013 was supposed to be Michael Crabtree's contract year. With Colin Kaepernick under center for the full season and a legitimate #2 WR in Anquoin Boldin, he was set to blow through his prior seasons' numbers and set himself up for a big extension.
But the Achilles injury (and other injury history with him) along with the cap situation certainly put lots of question marks around getting a deal done with the 49ers. Some folks think it's a given he's back for the long term, but I am not convinced... for a few reasons:
1) He held out as a rookie. His attitude may have improved since then, but I'm doubting that it's changed a ton... People are who they are, generally. This indicates he will over-value himself (or surround himself with diva coaches) and cause some heartburn.
2) The rookie wage scale (as I posited here in a FanPost) has changed the game and put downward pressure on the ever-growing veteran contracts. This means that teams will be looking to the draft more than ever to manage their salary cap. This adds likelihood that the 49ers part ways with Crabtree if #1 holds true.
3) Crabs has a fairly extensive injury history that will cost him. Adds to the discount the team may be able to negotiate, but adds to conflict with #1.
4) Following up #3 - the Achilles, specifically, will cost him most since he will be sitting out most of his contract year - never a good thing. Even worse, he may not make it back at all this season (let's pray that's not the case) and might miss his chance to showcase himself in a Super Bowl.... ouch.
5) Crabtree emerging as a true #1 receiver. Certainly adds to his value (but, again, makes #1 worse...)
Adding these things together, I think, adds up to Crabtree getting extended, but at a significant discount in the early years of his new contract or, alternately, having lots of injury hedging (i.e. playing time, snap % minimums etc) in order to ensure they get value for their $$. But I am no expert (far from it) and would love the NN community's thoughts....