49ers

Michael Crabtree released by Ravens; could 49ers, Raiders be interested?

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USATSI

Michael Crabtree released by Ravens; could 49ers, Raiders be interested?

After just one season in Baltimore, Michael Crabtree is looking for a new team.

The veteran wide receiver was released by the Ravens on Monday.

Crabtree completed just one season of a three-year, $21 million contract he signed last March. In 16 games with the Ravens, Crabtree caught 54 passes for 607 yards and three touchdowns. The 607 receiving yards were Crabtree's lowest in a full season.

Crabtree seemed to take the news in stride.

Drafted No. 10 overall by the 49ers in 2009, Crabtree spent the first six years of his career in San Francisco before moving on to the Raiders where he played the next three seasons.

So, could there be a reunion between Crabtree and either of the Bay Area teams? Both teams are looking to add wide receivers this offseason.

The 49ers let veteran Pierre Garcon go and need to find a starting wide receiver, while the Raiders need to completely overhaul their wide receiver corps.

Crabtree turns 32 in September, but he can still be productive. In his three seasons in Oakland, he caught 25 touchdown passes.

[RELATED: Draft target Quinnen Williams confident before combine]

So, would he be open to coming back to either of his former teams?

We'll find out soon as Crabtree is eligible sign with any team now since he was released.

Fewer snaps works out to more production for 49ers' rookie Deebo Samuel

Fewer snaps works out to more production for 49ers' rookie Deebo Samuel

SANTA CLARA – It was no reflection of what the 49ers think of rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel when coach Kyle Shanahan said after Week 1 he wanted him on the field for fewer plays.

Samuel played 59 of the 49ers’ 68 offensive snaps against Tampa Bay. He caught three passes for 17 yards.

In the 49ers’ 41-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Samuel played just 27 of the team’s 70 snaps. But his production increased significantly.

Samuel caught five of the seven passes quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw his way. The second-round draft pick from South Carolina accounted for 87 yards and a touchdown. Garoppolo likes what he has seen from the rookie.

“It’s moving in the right direction, especially when a guy ... he just has the right mindset on the field, you see it in the huddle, you see it in his eyes,” Garoppolo said. “The moment is not too big for him. So as a rookie, you’ve got to appreciate seeing that.

“He’s raw and has so much talent that we’ve got to bring out of him. He’s just moving in the right direction, so that’s the fun part.”

Samuel and Marquise Goodwin started the first two games for the 49ers. Dante Pettis and Goodwin shared the most playing time, with each playing 50 percent of the team’s snaps. Goodwin caught three passes for 77 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown. Pettis did not see a pass thrown his way, though he completed a 16-yard pass on a gadget play.

[RELATED: Chris Simms explains why unbeaten 49ers might be for real]

Pettis got off to a slow start in training camp and Shanahan repeatedly challenged him to show more urgency and step up his game. The former second-round pick said he feels good about the direction he is moving.

“I think I’m pretty much there,” Pettis said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “It’s hard to tell, obviously, in the games, but I think in practices I’m not where I need to be, but I’m on my way.”

Why Justin Skule is thankful for 49ers O-line before first NFL start

Why Justin Skule is thankful for 49ers O-line before first NFL start

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers left tackle Justin Skule, who will take over for injured six-time Pro Bowler Joe Staley at the position in Sunday’s home opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, is just a rookie. But Skule already has a huge supporting cast to help him prepare. 

The 22-year-old is an unknown to most in the Niners fanbase. The rookie has quietly kept his head down since he was selected in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the 49ers in April. Staley, who has vowed to help Skule adjust to his new responsibilities, has already made an impact on his replacement. 

“He’s been awesome since I’ve been here just taking me under his wing and giving me little tricks of the trade,” Skule said Wednesday of the veteran left tackle, who is out six to eight weeks after breaking his fibula in Week 2. “He’s done a phenomenal job just these past couple days giving me pointers just showing me how he goes through his process and everything like that. I couldn’t ask for a better mentor.” 

Staley isn’t the only offensive lineman to offer Skule helpful advice. The rookie had to fill in for Staley in the 49ers' 41-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, and Skule said Mike Person imparted some wisdom when the two shared the field at Paul Brown Stadium. 

“He’s like, ‘Take a deep breath it’s still just football,'" Skule recalled. "So, I think that’s something that I’m really going to focus on this week. It’s still the game of football. Just take a deep breath, and don’t let anything get too big for myself.” 

Skule apparently has taken that advice to heart during his first week of practice as the team's starter.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t notice the nerves that were brewing in his newly appointed left tackle. Garoppolo that Skule appeared unfazed when he first filled in for Staley and has been the same ever since. 

“He’s been very consistent,” Garoppolo said. “Smart guy, came into the huddle during the game, didn’t blink or anything. Just one of those guys, he does the right thing and he’s in the right spot. He’s been the same guy every day, and you’ve got to appreciate that.”

[RELATED: Chris Simms explains why unbeaten 49ers might be for real]

Thus far, Skule has taken it all in stride. Even with more than 20 media members surrounding him in front of his locker for the first time in his pro career, Skule seemed calm and deliberate. The rookie didn’t hesitate when answering any questions, and his replies seemed genuine. 

Still, Skule knows that even though he feels calm now, the nerves undoubtedly will come before his first start Sunday at Levi's Stadium. 

“No matter who you are replacing, you’re going to go in with some nerves,” Skule said. “Everyone has that competitive edge where you’re going to be nervous when you’re going in. The older guys and everyone in the huddle have just done a great job taking me under their wing and just making sure I’m good and relaxed and ready to go.”