The San Francisco 49ers desperately need to find a deep-threat compliment to WR Michael Crabtree and WR Victor Cruz would provide the perfect fit. The New York Giants have restricted Cruz to a first-round compensation should he pursue greener pastures with another team. The 49ers holding the 31st pick in this year’s draft have the ammo to strike a deal, especially since they also hold the 34th overall selection as part of the Alex Smith trade with the Kansas City Chiefs. So with all the pieces in place, what is holding back the 49ers from pursuing the deal? Money. Cruz will likely command top dollar and it remains unclear if the 49ers will cough up the dough, considering they are willing to let FS Dashon Goldson walk. In addition, they need to re-sign Crabtree next year, and will most likely need to be compensated the same, if not more than Cruz. So with so many barriers affecting this deal, should they do it? I would say a definite yes.
There are no guarantees that Crabtree will re-sign with the 49ers. We all remember he was labeled a “diva” coming out of college due to his infamous rookie hold-out. In addition, his roots has always been tied to Texas and you can never count out Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones from possibly making a run at the soon to be free-agent. Although Crabtree has transitioned well in the Bay Area, it remains unclear if he sees himself in a 49ers uniform long-term.
Also, by adding Cruz into the mix it will make the 49ers wide receivers unit a strength rather than a weakness. Besides Crabtree, no other 49ers receiver provides much of a threat. Defenses such as the Seattle Seahawks can turn their focus primarily on Crabtree forcing others to make plays. Not anymore. With the addition of Cruz it will undoubtedly change the way defenses game-plan for the 49ers. No longer can safeties play up in run support while their cornerbacks maintain man coverage on the outside. Because if they do, Cruz will make them pay dearly for it, with six points on the scoreboard.
Finally, by acquiring Cruz’s services it will kill two birds with one stone. Not only will the 49ers get their Pro Bowl wide receiver but they will cripple the New York Giants passing attack in the process. Cruz is by far QB Eli Manning’s favorite target and if he is no longer on the team, then oft-injured WR Hakeem Nicks will need to assume that role. It will also provide a great 1-2 punch should Crabtree leave via free-agency, as Cruz and Manningham both played with each other during their Super Bowl run in 2011. I’m not saying that Crabtree will not be re-signed, all I’m trying to emphasize is nothing is guaranteed and the Niners better have a plan B in case things go sour.
With free-agency set to begin on Tuesday, it is highly unlikely that Cruz will be targeted by San Francisco. But with GM Trent Baalke at the helm, anything is possible.