49ers salary cap breakdown: Wide Receivers

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers face a pair of notable questions at the wide receiver position this offseason. How will they approach Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree, as the former is a free agent, and the latter is entering his walk year.

We're back for the fourth position in our 49ers salary cap breakdown. We opened with quarterbacks, and have moved on to running backs and fullbacks. While the 49ers have a certain amount of stability at each position, there are salary cap question marks at virtually every position on the roster. The team remains a contender and in good shape, but there is work to be done by Trent Baalke, Paraag Marathe and company this offseason.

More 49ers salary capQuarterbacks Running Backs Fullbacks

The wide receiver position has as many questions as any other spot on the roster. Last season marked the first time in the Jim Harbaugh era that the 49ers had two particularly solid receivers. In 2011 and 2012, it was Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis and whatever they could scrounge together, whether it be Braylon Edwards, Randy Moss, Kyle Williams, Brett Swain, Joe Hastings, or really anything else. It was not a pretty picture.

The 49ers acquired Anquan Boldin in the offseason in a steal from a Baltimore Ravens team that was facing their own salary cap constraints. The 49ers ended up without Crabtree to start the 2013 season, but when he returned in December, the 49ers had some serious weapons at their disposal. Imagine if they could have both receivers the entire season?

2014

Player Cap Figure Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Bonus Workout Bonus Dead Money
Michael Crabtree $4,770,443 $3,500,000 $770,443 $500,000
Quinton Patton $592,875 $495,000 $97,875
Jon Baldwin $1,377,765 $1,247,765 $130,000
Chuck Jacobs $420,667 $420,000 $667
Brandon Carswell $420,000 $420,000
David Reed $730,000 $730,000
DeMarco Sampson $495,000 $495,000
Devon Wylie $495,000 $495,000
A.J. Jenkins $1,746,374 $1,746,374
Ricardo Lockette $5,000 $5,000
TOTAL $11,053,124 $7,802,765 $868,318 $500,000 $130,000 $1,752,041

2013

Player Cap Figure Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Bonus Workout Bonus Dead Money
Michael Crabtree $5,770,439 $4,500,000 $770,439 $500,000
Anquan Boldin $6,000,000 $6,000,000
Mario Manningham $2,800,000 $1,800,000 $1,000,000
Kassim Osgood $522,353 $884,706 Veteran min salary benefit
Quinton Patton $502,875 $405,000 $97,875
Jon Baldwin $1,061,510 $1,061,510
Chuck Jacobs $102,333 $102,000 $333
Brandon Carswell $288,000 $288,000
Devon Wylie $18,000 $18,000
A.J. Jenkins $873,187 $873,187
Kyle Williams $390,427 $390,427
Marlon Moore $333,529 $333,529
Chris Harper $142,941 $142,941
Nathan Palmer $6,667 $6667
Brian Tyms $5,334 $5,334
Ricardo Lockette $5,000 $5,000
Chris Owusu $2,000 $2,000
TOTAL $18,824,595 $15,059,216 $1,868,314 $500,000 $0 $1,759,418

There are two big questions facing the 49ers as they head into this 2014 offseason. The most immediate is Anquan Boldin's status. The veteran receiver is a free agent, and coming off a very strong year. Although he's getting older, I have to think there are times that will be willing to offer him a decent sized contract. Boldin and Eric Decker strike me as the two biggest options on the market. Decker had two more catches, 109 more yards and four more touchdowns, but I wonder if that helps Boldin set his own market value.

The question then is how much Boldin is willing to come down, compared to where the 49ers set their opening position. It is possible they will come to a quick agreement, but given the performance we saw from Boldin, I have to think he takes a look at what the market offers in free agency. From a pure business standpoint, I think there's some value to that for him. But we don't know how the 49ers value him, so that's mostly just speculation for now.

The second question facing the 49ers is the long-term contract for Michael Crabtree. He is entering the final season of his rookie deal. Prior to his Achilles injury, Crabtree had shown steady improvement with the 49ers, boosting his receptions and receiving yards each season. He suffered the torn Achilles this year, and in returning by early December and showing solid form, he joined the growing group of players who are shattering old medical benchmarks. He will have a full offseason to continue getting closer to truly 100 percent ability, and I see no reason we can't expect a huge season from him next year.

The question then is what kind of deal do the 49ers attempt to negotiate with him? There are a lot of players coming up for new contracts, and at some point somebody is going to have to leave. In the salary cap era, a team simply cannot pay every single player. I don't care how smart the cap wizards are, you can only get so much out of every dollar.

It will be interesting to see how the 49ers approach the coming draft at the wide receiver position, and even more so if they figure out some kind of extension with Boldin. Personally, I think they work out a 2- or 3-year extension with Boldin. If they extend Boldin, they won't draft a wide receiver early, but if they are not sure what to make of Crabtree's future with the team, they could elect to invest some assets in the position.

I wish I could offer more, but the Crabtree situation leaves me thoroughly baffled. I think he is a great wide receiver, who is somewhat underestimated because he does not have those monster Calvin Johnson type days. He's a different kind of receiver than the Megatrons or A.J. Greens, but he is still a huge weapon, whether it be converting third downs, throwing huge blocks, or whatever. The question now is how each side values this production in dollars and cents.

Yes, Crabtree held out his rookie year. That topic comes up in the comments of virtually every discussion about Crabtree's contract status. But, I don't think that's reason enough to automatically assume he will walk in free agency. If the 49ers are able to continue surrounding him with solid receiving weapons, it's possible he'll see this as reason to potentially take a little bit less than what the market would dictate. He's got a potentially great quarterback throwing him passes, and with guys like Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis around him, he can know he won't face constant double-teams.

If Crabtree does re-sign with the 49ers, I think it will be prior to hitting free agency a year from March, and it will likely be slightly discounted from what he could get on the open market. Now, we'll just see if it happens.

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