There’s been some debate as to who, if anyone, blinked in connection with the breaking of the impasse between the 49ers and receiver Michael Crabtree.
As we’ve heard it, the blinking was done by the player. The 49ers had no idea that Crabtree and agent Eugene Parker were planning to arrive in the Bay Area this week to resume negotiations, and that the team first learned of the possibility from the hints dropped by Deion Sanders, who has close ties to Crabtree and/or Parker.
G.M. Scot McCloughan confirmed on Wednesday that, indeed, the team didn’t know that Crabtree and Parker, who previously wanted a deal worth as much or more than the five-year, $38.25 million deal given to Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, were coming to town.
“It was unique because we didn’t know about it,” McCloughan told KNBR in San Francisco (via SportsRadioInterviews.com). “We had nothing set up, so they were flying in without us really having anything set up. So we got to Monday morning and got verification that they were in town, got a couple phone calls, got a meeting set up. At noon [Tuesday], we sat down. Jed, myself, [Paraag] Marathe, Eugene Parker, and Michael Crabtree. And we sat there about an hour and talked as a group, then Michael and I went by ourselves for about an hour. And [Paraag] and Eugene met through the night and into the morning and we got stuff ironed out.”
(McCloughan made no mention of Hammer’s reported involvement in the negotiations.)
Moving forward, what can 49ers fans expect from Crabtree?
“First of all, as a player, I see him as a big-play guy,” McCloughan said. “You can’t go through the Big 12, especially the Big 12 South in two years and have 41 touchdowns and 230 catches. He dominated at a very high level.
“Now again, he has not caught a ball in the NFL yet, so we’re waiting to see that. But just off of pure physical skills, very impressive. Very competitive. [T]he one guy I’ve seen in college that looked like this and played like this was Anquan Boldin. . . . Michael [has] more play speed than Boldin, but just that physical . . . where they can step in and dominate. And that’s what you need nowadays in the NFL. You’ve got the big safetys, the big linebackers, and you’ve got to be able to not just hold up, but be able to break arm tackles getting down the field. Which he can do. I think he’s got exceptional hands, strong hands to be able to go high-point the ball and come down with it. And saying all that, with the physical make up and the maturity he has, it will be a quick process with him being able to fit in on an NFL football field.”
But not too quick.
The 49ers will have a two-week roster exemption for Crabtree, and he is expected to make his debut later this month, on October 25 against the Texans.