A source close to San Francisco 49ers holdout wide receiver Michael Crabtree(notes) said Tuesday that while he disagrees with the idea of Crabtree missing an entire season, "the kid is weird enough that he just might do it."
The comment comes after NFL Network analyst and former player Deion Sanders said Crabtree, taken 10th in this year's NFL draft, is willing to remain unsigned because of his desire to paid as much as No. 7 overall pick and fellow wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey(notes). Crabtree believes he would have been a top-five pick if not for a stress fracture in his foot that was discovered at the NFL scouting combine.
Meanwhile, a 49ers source remained upbeat about the chances of Crabtree signing, saying he believed a holdout "defies all logic."
The team source said the 49ers have offered Crabtree a contract commensurate with the No. 10 overall pick. Crabtree wants a deal equal to the reported five-year, $38.25 million contract Heyward-Bey received. That deal includes $23.5 million guaranteed and also was the cause of conflict in the Cincinnati Bengals' negotiations with No. 6 overall pick Andre Smith(notes), who joined the team a month after he reported to training camp.
Both sources believe that Crabtree has been told by other teams that they will take him in the first round of next year's draft. However, because Crabtree would be delaying the chance to get to free agency by a year if he held out, he would have to go at least No. 7 overall in the draft in 2010 to make up for the lost '09 salary. The 49ers could trade his rights prior to the draft in the offseason, but any money Crabtree would be paid would come out of the rookie salary cap for that year.
Even more, Crabtree could get overtaken by other wide receivers in the 2010 draft.
"The same thing could happen next year," the source close to Crabtree said. "Look at what [Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez] Bryant did on Saturday. And that Aurelius Benn kid [from Illinois] is really good … it just doesn't make any sense."
In the meantime, Crabtree has been staying and working out in the Bay Area. His father, Michael Sr., said his son was "just working to get bigger, stronger and faster." The elder Crabtree, who said his son recently spent a day catching passes from former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer(notes), declined to talk about the contract.
Crabtree would be the first first-round pick to sit out the season since quarterback Kelly Stouffer in 1987.
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