Fooch's update: The Miami Herald is reporting Crabtree turned down an offer of $3 million for next season, and is looking for $4.5 million.
It's April 5 and wide receiver Michael Crabtree is the best player at his position still on the open market. You could have said that about Crabtree shortly after the top three or four guys signed, in fact. From a talent perspective, the former San Francisco 49ers player is a crisp-route runner, has great hands and has found success against top cornerbacks in the NFL.
But he's also injury-prone, and has only played a full 16 games twice in his six-year NFL career. He managed just five games in 2013, but a 2014 campaign in which he played in all 16 games was expected to boost his stock at least a little bit. Of course, we don't know if injury concerns are the reason he's not signed with a new team yet.
He could be taking his time, could have way too-high of an asking price, could be rubbing teams the wrong way or any other number of issue. What we know is that he made a visit with the Miami Dolphins over two weeks ago and should be visiting with the Oakland Raiders any day now. The Dolphins could use Crabtree's help but don't seem interested, while Crabtree would absolutely be the best receiver in Oakland.
Personally -- I doubt Crabtree wants to be the go-to guy for a second-year quarterback, regardless of how high of a ceiling Derek Carr might have. He wasn't exactly happy in San Francisco with Colin Kaepernick or Alex Smith throwing him the football, and managed to complain more than once. Last season, he suggested he was more of a third-down receiver despite his targets being just 18 fewer than his career high.
I'm getting side-tracked. The point of this post, other than to talk about the lack of interest in this talented receiver, is to ask whether or not 49ers would want Crabtree back at all. The team signed Torrey Smith on the open market and he'll start opposite Anquan Boldin, but there's not much after that. Guys like Bruce Ellington and Quinton Patton are fun to rally around and certainly have potential, but Crabtree still has an awful lot of football in front of him.
If Crabtree doesn't find a good deal elsewhere, understands his value and is willing to return, do you want him in a 49ers uniform? Obviously, he's a starting-caliber guy, or we (and he) would like to think so, and there's no room for that this season ... but what about the season after that?
Boldin doesn't have much football left and should be calling it a career soon. The 49ers have to look to the draft for a young cornerback, defensive lineman and inside linebacker, so they may not be able to spend a high pick on a receiver like we were suggesting before the run of bad news this offseason. Re-signing Crabtree at a reasonable rate -- something Trent Baalke said was not off the table -- could be some good insurance going forward.
Or am I just crazy? I'm fine with that, too.