The only NFL-caliber quarterback to throw a pass to Michael Crabtree in the last two months? That would be Trent Dilfer, who worked out with Crabtree recently in the Bay Area. Dilfer told me a few moments ago that Crabtree had gotten sick of working with a JUGS machine, and was looking for a live arm. The one rumor that Dilfer said he could put to rest was that Crabtree didn't want to sign a contract because he was hiding a lingering foot injury. "That's garbage," Dilfer said. "He's perfectly healthy. ... He looked good. He looked very fit."
Dilfer said he did not discuss the contract issue with Crabtree. He said he wanted to provide a service for Crabtree and didn't want to make him feel uncomfortable. "I told him early on that I would not get involved in any level in that aspect of it," said Dilfer, who lives in the South Bay, who played two seasons in San Francisco and who is close friends with a number of 49ers.
Crabtree is now on Day 45 of his contract impasse. If he does not sign by Saturday, he will lose his Week One game check. More importantly, the standoff is starting to get into the realm where the 49ers might begin lowering their offer - believed to be 5 years for $20 million total with $16 million guaranteed - because Crabtree will not be factor early in the season. Crabtree, who was rehabilitating from a foot injury in the spring, has yet to practice with his new team.
Last week, former NFL cornerback and occasional Crabtree adviser Deion Sanders said that Crabtree had enough money to sit out the season, and if the 49ers didn't increase their offer, Crabtree was prepared to do just that. Crabtree signed a number of endorsement deals prior to the NFL scouting combine and the draft, and he is believed to have made a modest amount - easily six figures but perhaps not quite seven figures.
Dilfer's workout tells us two things. One, that Crabtree is healthy, working out and plans to hit the ground running when he does sign a contract. This is certainly reading tea leaves, but it doesn't seem that a receiver who is hunkering down for a six-month holdout would be seeking out former NFL quarterbacks for a game of catch. And two, it tells us that Crabtree is in the Bay Area, an indication that he still plans to sign with the 49ers.
-- Matt Barrows