If the 49ers had not gone to the playoffs, a lot of 49ers fans would be excited about the Alex Smith-Michael Crabtree connection for 2012.Now? Not so much.And that leads off the first of two 49ers Mailbags for the day . . .
Any chance of Crabtree getting traded for a pick or player? Seems to be only player who doesn't fit Harbaugh's team 1st mentality. (@Mike Spediacci)
The 49ers ended the season so short on wide receivers that on third downs in the NFC Championship Game they went with tight end Delanie Walker, playing for the first time after missing a month with a fractured jaw, instead of their No. 3 wide receiver, Brett Swain.The 49ers need a wide receiver or two. So there is no reason for them to get rid of their best receiver -- the player who led the league's No. 29-rated passing game with 72 catches for 874 yards. (Vernon Davis had 67 receptions for 792 yards.)
Coach Jim Harbaugh would definitely challenge you on your statement that Crabtree does not fit into his team-first mentality. Crabtree turned a lot of heads this season with his willingness and effectiveness as a blocker.Crabtree, on more than one occasion last season, said he was willing to do whatever it took to win. He said he doesn't look at his stats because he only cares about winning.When he failed to catch three passes that hit his hands in the playoff game against the Saints, he said "it haunted me."And after the NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants, in which he caught just one pass for 3 yards, Crabtree showed his frustration more than anybody on the team. He said he saw other teams throwing passes to receivers who weren't wide open, allowing them to make plays. He said he wanted some of those chances, too.
Crabtree is signed through 2014, and he figures to be an important piece of this offense at least through then.Do the Niners sign a game changing wide receiver in free agency or draft one early? (@Mike Swafford)
The free-agent signing period begins March 13 at 1 p.m. The draft is the last weekend in April.Because free agency comes first, the 49ers will look at that market first.The 49ers will sign at least a couple free-agent receivers. (Joshua Morgan, who's rehab is coming along nicely, and Ted Ginn are scheduled to be free agents.) First, they must wait to see which receivers are on the market after the period for franchise tags ends on March 5.
There are not a whole lot of examples of big-money wide receivers going to other teams and pushing them over the top, so you can figure that the 49ers will be fiscally wise in determining how to address the position.After all, with more than 30 million in cap room available for 2012, the 49ers still must deal with some of their own key free agents -- such as Alex Smith, Dashon Goldson, Carlos Rogers, Ahmad Brooks and Adam Snyder -- while also planning for the future.