Last April, when the 49ers announced their first round draft pick, they expected him to sign with the team.
Well, they got what they wanted. It just came a little later than expected.
Nearly six months after donning the red, black, and gold draft cap provided to him by the 49ers organization, the former Texas Tech star wideout finally agreed to a six year deal worth $32 million, with $17 million guaranteed earlier today. The news came just one day after him and his agent, Eugene Parker, met with team personnel in the Bay Area.
Crabtree, the lone unsigned first round draft pick, had appeared far apart from S.F. in negotiations and looked poised to sit out the season and reenter the draft next year. "I know there's been a lot of things said back and forth," coach Mike Singletary said of the Crabtree scenario. "I've always said from Day 1, until I've heard something from Michael, all the other stuff doesn't mean anything to me. I'm very excited to have Mike Crabtree be part of this time. In my mind he has been since the day of the draft. Today really makes it official."
"This is a great day for the 49ers," he continued. "It showed the commitment in place in having Crabtree here. Obviously Michael missed a lot of time, a lot of valuable time, and has a lot of work to catch up."
However, not all Niner fans were willing to welcome Michael with open arm. To many of them, Crabtree was a traitor. Tight end Vernon Davis, however, dismisses that notion. "We accept Crabtree no matter what," he noted. "I think his play will speak for itself."
The other primary concern in signing Crabtree was the fact that he had not taken time to get used to the teams offensive system. "It's going to be a process," admitted Singletary. "Hopefully after the bye, Mike will be ready to go. Certainly it's going to start small, a small role here and there, figuring out ways to get him on the field."
If all goes as planned, Crabtree could make his debut Oct. 25 in Houston.
"Everybody came to a reachable agreement and it happened," a red and gold clad Crabtree said at his press conference introducing him to the team. "I'm just glad I'm past that part. I'm very humble right now, man, it's a very humbling experience. Just getting a chance to sit back and better myself as a person, as a player, as a teammate. ... I feel like going through that it made me look at the world in a different way, look at my teammates a different way. Hopefully it will work out for the best."
Hopefully, he is right. However, one thing is for certain. It will be a long road ahead for Crabtree, both in gaining understanding of the team's system and in gaining the trust of fans back.
For now, San Francisco can rest knowing it got its first round draft pick, and perhaps only major outside threat, to sign on the dotted line.
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