SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - The San Francisco 49ers and wide
receiver Michael Crabtree agreed to a six-year contract early
Wednesday after several months of difficult negotiations.
Team spokesman Bob Lange confirmed the deal in a text message to The Associated Press. Terms were not disclosed. Crabtree was expected to participate in practice Wednesday as the 49ers prepare for Sunday's home game against Atlanta.
The agreement was first reported by ESPN.com.
The former Texas Tech star was the only draft pick who hadn't
signed; even rapper MC Hammer got involved to finally make it
Crabtree could provide the game-breaking wide receiver threat
the 49ers have been lacking, assuming he can quickly learn the
offense after missing all of training camp. The 10th pick overall,
he also sat out offseason minicamps and organized team activities while recovering from a foot injury, but was a regular presence at the team's training facility.
Crabtree and his agent, Eugene Parker, met with three top 49ers
officials Tuesday in an attempt to work through his contract
impasse. Crabtree balked at a long-standing offer of approximately five years and $20 million, with a reported $16 million guaranteed.
Instead, he sought money comparable to what higher draft picks had received.
Oakland Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, the No. 7 choice,
signed a five-year contract that will guarantee him at least $23.5
Jacksonville Jaguars top pick Eugene Monroe, taken eighth
overall, signed a five-year, $25 million contract that includes $19 million guaranteed.
Coach Mike Singletary acknowledged last month that the 49ers
discussed changing their offer to Crabtree, and team president Jed York said last month that the team hoped for a face-to-face meeting with Crabtree, but hadn't heard back from his representatives.
That meeting finally happened Tuesday at an undisclosed spot in the Bay Area, away from the team's Santa Clara headquarters. Crabtree and Parker were joined by York, vice president of football operations Paraag Marathe and general manager Scot McCloughan.
Hammer, a friend of Parker and client Deion Sanders, also
Crabtree's contract can be voided after five years with two solid seasons. It's unclear when Crabtree will be game ready after
missing so much time, but San Francisco has a bye next week so it's conceivable he could make his debut in a limited role Oct. 25 at Houston.
Singletary, whose team leads the NFC West and at 3-1 is off to
its best start since 2002, said he would welcome Crabtree whenever he showed up to join the team.
The 49ers needed to sign Crabtree by Nov. 17 for him to remain
eligible to play this season. There would have been a seven-week window before the 2010 draft to trade Crabtree if he did not sign.
In August, a report surfaced that Crabtree was prepared to sit
out the season, re-enter the draft in 2010 and wait for a hefty
Crabtree caught 97 passes for 1,165 yards and scored 19
touchdowns last year, his sophomore season at Texas Tech. He
finished his college career with 231 receptions for 3,127 yards and 41 touchdowns.