© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Raheem Mostert was one of the NFL’s elite running backs last year, leading all running backs at 5.8 yards per carry. He was outperformed in in a stellar playoff stretch only by Derrick Henry, who comprised the entirety of the Tennessee Titans’ offense. Mostert began the year as a special teams stud known for his penchant to make game-changing tackles as a gunner, and was paid as an elite special-teamer, playing out the first year of a three-year deal that was viewed to be a very good deal on his part when it was signed.
Per OverTheCap, Mostert made $1.98 million last year, will make $3.16 million this year and $3.51 million in 2021. But Mostert, at age 28, and being paid not as the starting running back he became last season, but as a special teams player, rightly wanted a raise to be in the area of Tevin Coleman (making $4.88 million this year), who the 49ers allowed a $2 million sum to guarantee this offseason by not cutting him.
The 49ers discernibly refused that request, leaving Mostert and his agent, Brett Tessler, to request a trade. The issue there is Mostert is playing one of the most replaceable positions in the NFL, and on one of the teams, with one of the coaches who are most effective at replacing running backs, and he has two years remaining on his deal, and a nebulous trade value given how running backs’ values have been massively diminished in recent years. Again, he’s also nearing 30 years old.
NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco joined Mark Willard on KNBR on Monday to explain the situation and why the 49ers will hold firm.
“I just don’t see the 49ers budging,” Maiocco said. “They signed Raheem Mostert to a three-year deal last year at this time. And I think they don’t want to get in that situation; they’re very much about precedent. They always have been about contractual precedent and they have their way of doing contracts… In this case, and it is a unique situation, the 49ers don’t want to get put in that position where they set this precedent of you sign a three year contract, and you play exceptionally well after year one and now let’s rip it up and give you a, hundred percent pay increase.”
The 49ers have to consider money for George Kittle’s contract, Maiocco said, in addition to the expected losses this season due to the coronavirus. Historically, the team has been tough at the negotiations table when ironing out deals with players, as was proven with DeForest Buckner most recently and still with Kittle.
What will decide whether Mostert gets into training camp? The resolve of he and his agent, Tessler, Maiocco said.
“I think it’s going to be a battle,” Maiocco said. “It’s all about how far Mostert and Tessler are willing to push this and put the heat on the 49ers to come to the table and make a deal that gets him in camp.”
Listen to the full interview below. Skip to the 6:30 mark to hear Maiocco’s thoughts on the Mostert trade request.