Matt Maiocco tweeted out some information that is not particularly shocking, but is still worth a note. According to Maiocco (and later also reported by Ian Rapoport), Alex Boone will not report to training camp on time with out a new contract:
It's less than two weeks before start of #49ers training camp, and I'm hearing no way RG Alex Boone reports on time without a new contract.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) July 12, 2014
Given how Boone has handled this holdout, this is not breaking news. While Vernon Davis has been quite chatty about his holdout, Alex Boone has stayed home and kept quiet. We've seen Davis move all over the spectrum with his holdout, initially saying it was not a holdout, then saying it was about his brand, then saying it was a holdout and was about his contract, and then seemingly indicating he might be back in time for a camp.
During this whole time, Boone has said nothing. We've heard reports from sources close, but it has been all quiet. And while that means we don't get to hear anything from Boone's mouth, in my mind it makes his holdout that much more serious. He wants a new contract, and he's ready to dig in to get it.
Now we get to see who blinks first in this standoff. The team can fine Boone up to $30,000 per day he is absent from camp. This starts the beginning of the first day of camp, through the final preseason roster cutdown date. After that, he starts forfeiting his weekly paycheck. Boone is due to earn $2 million in base salary this year. Salaries are generally paid out over the course of the 17 week season. For Boone, that adds up to $117,647 per week.
The report date is July 23, with the first practice set for July 24. I believe the final roster cutdown date is Saturday, August 30. If that "first day of camp" is July 23, that means the 49ers can fine him up to $30,000 a day for 39 days. That could lead to fines of as much as $1.17 million. When a player holds out and eventually signs a new deal, the fines are often forgiven or somehow figured out so that it is not an issue.
But if Boone does not get a new deal, this serves to further complicate the situation. A player has to be on full pay status for at least six weeks in order to accrue a year toward free agency. That means Boone would need to report back in time for Week 12 at the very latest so that his contract does not toll, thus pushing back free agency another year. If he reports back following Week 11, he will have forfeited something on the order of $1,294,117 in salary, leaving him with $705,883 in base salary left to be earned. Considering that would not cover the entirety of potential training camp fines, the whole thing is left all the messier.
I do think the two sides will figure something out. The 49ers have options to compete for right guard work, with Joe Looney, Adam Snyder, Ryan Seymour, potentially Marcus Martin or Daniel Kilgore, and even Jonathan Martin all in the mix. But Boone has been a fairly consistent part of this offensive line the last two years. His 2013 season was certainly not perfect, but he's a rock on the right side.
One issue will of course be getting Boone back for camp. We've talked about how the 49ers looked to get Gore back to camp in order to get a deal done. If they have a similar discussion with Boone, maybe Boone sits out the first week or two to show he is serious, and then returns at some point in camp. Maiocco's tweet referenced "reports on time", so it is entirely possible he sits a bit, makes his point, and then returns. Given Boone's silence, we won't really know anything for certain until he actually shows up, whether it be with a new contract or not.
For now, we wait.