ALAMEDA -– Veteran receiver Michael Crabtree had a rough free-agent experience last offseason, with many teams balking at a long-term deal for the former 49er. He ended up signing a one-year, prove-it deal with the Raiders that afforded another shot at the open market in his prime.
His didn’t take it. The 28-year old decided to stay put, signing a four-year contract extension with the Raiders on Wednesday. The deal is worth a maximum of $35 million and $19 million guaranteed, a league source told CSN California.
ESPN was first to report the extension and NFL Network was first to report the contract terms. The deal breaks down to $8.75 million annually over four seasons, a sum and contract length that wasn’t guaranteed on the open market, and likely would've been competitive against other offers.
This is a satisfactory end for player and team. Crabtree is enjoying his first season in Oakland, and the Raiders saw him as an excellent locker room and scheme fit.
Crabtree was happy about Wednesday’s events and the stability he has found in silver and black.
“This is where I belong,” Crabtree said. “We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. I’m a Raider.”
Crabtree has been a big brother to a young receiver corps, and formed an instant chemistry with quarterback Derek Carr. That has led to a productive season in Oakland. He has 66 receptions for 760 yards and seven touchdowns through 12 games, acting as Carr’s safety on downfield throws.
Crabtree has excellent hands and is a smooth route runner, traits that will help him stay productive through the end of this contract.
The contract also means Crabtree and rookie sensation Amari Cooper are under contract through the 2019 season, meaning Carr will have continuity at the receiver spot for years to come. Carr also has tight end Clive Walford and running back Latavius Murray under contract for some time, setting the offense up to remain explosive and grow together.
That’s a positive for a team having undergone so much flux in recent seasons, from new personnel to new coaches and the new schemes that come with them.
Crabtree is in his seventh NFL season. The first six were spent in Santa Clara, the last two spent dealing with injuries and underwhelming production.
He’s experiencing a career renaissance in the East Bay, and has a shot to exceed 1,000 receiving yards for the second time in his career.
Crabtree’s new deal is the Raiders’ second in as many days. They signed fullback Jamize Olawale to a three-year deal on Tuesday, and Crabtree roughly 24 hours later.
The Raiders also have interest in retaining Donald Penn, who is at the end of a two-year pact. The sides talked preliminarily this summer, and Penn would like to stay put.
The Raiders have tremendous financial flexibility, with salary-cap space and an ability to cut many recent free-agent signings without incurring much of a cap hit. Punter Marquette King is another unrestricted free agent worth an extension. They have an interest in re-signing edge rusher Aldon Smith if he gets reinstated following a calendar-year suspension. Safety Charles Woodson would certainly be welcomed back if he wants to play another year.