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Michael Crabtree contract negotiations: Member of Crabtree camp indicates ‘ball is in [49ers] court’

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The San Francisco 49ers and Michael Crabtree have reportedly moved closer in negotiations. We take a look at the latest update, and what might be next.

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The negotiation dance continues as the San Francisco 49ers and Michael Crabtree work to try and get a contract extension done before the start of the season. Ian Rapoport was the first to report there had been some progress. Rapoport tweeted that Crabtree was willing to go with a deal that would allow him to be among the highest paid wide receivers, but it would include incentives, as opposed to large guarantees.

Matt Barrows followed that report on Wednesday with this line:

Asked if the optimism over a new deal was warranted, a figure in Crabtree's camp said, "the ball is in their court, so we'll see."

We can't tell where exactly in the negotiation process that puts the two sides. For example, it could mean Eugene Parker has told the 49ers that Crabtree is willing to take more incentives, and the team now is working up a proposal based on that. Or, it could mean Parker already told the 49ers that, the team then made an offer, and Parker countered. We won't get the nitty gritty of the negotiation, but those are two distinct possibilities.

The question now is how things progress over the next two weeks. The 49ers play their final preseason game a week from today, and the following week, the 2014 NFL season begins. Trent Baalke has said that at some point, if a deal is not done, negotiations would be tabled until the end of the season. My guess is that would happen with the start of the regular season, but we can't say that with certainty. After all, the 49ers have done extensions with other players during the season. We saw that with Tramaine Brock last season. Crabtree's extension is a bit more high profile than Brock's, but maybe we see a deal sometime during the season.

I've included a poll to see how people view the situation at this point. Do you think a deal gets done in the next two weeks, during the coming season, after the season ends, during free agency, or no deal?