This is also a good time to re-evaluate the position.
Crabtree and Braylon Edwards are clearly the two most formidable receiving options at the position. Josh Morgan and Ted Ginn Jr. appear to be next in line, with Kyle Williams finally healthy enough to contribute as the team had hoped one year ago.
Looking at the 49ers' roster, it's tough to make a case for keeping rookie sixth-round choice Ronald Johnson at the expense of others. I doubt another team would snap up Johnson on its 53-man roster if the 49ers tried to shift him to the practice squad, given that Johnson has made little impact and struggled in the team's most recent preseason game.
But it's difficult to know how coach Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers will assess the position in the end. Rookie receivers face difficult adjustments most of the time even in non-lockout years. There's also danger in assuming the 49ers' new coaching staff will value more established players the way the 49ers have valued them in the past.
Crabtree, meanwhile, needs all the work he can get in the team's new offense. The quick timing throws teams use to beat pressure take practice to perfect. Quarterback and receiver must trust one. Crabtree, sidelined by a foot injury this summer, has had a hard time building a rapport with Alex Smith in part because he's missed all or parts of his three offseasons as a professional.