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What is the next step in the Alex Boone holdout?

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The San Francisco 49ers welcomed back one hold out, as Vernon Davis returned for training camp. The question now is what to expect of the Alex Boone holdout.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers welcomed Vernon Davis back to the fold on Wednesday, as the tight end was recorded arriving in the locker room to a rousing welcome. His return leaves the 49ers with one notable absence from training camp: right guard Alex Boone. Following Davis's return, Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo both tweeted that Boone would not be in town for the start of camp.

While Vernon Davis has been all over the place this offseason with his holdout, Boone has maintained radio silence throughout the offseason. We've heard repeatedly that he wants a new deal, and he is willing to hold out to get that deal. Boone has not publicly said that, but the leaks have happened to get us somewhat clear on his situation.

Boone has two years remaining on his deal, and as most would agree, he is underpaid. He agreed to a contract when he was still a backup offensive line, and he has since outplayed the deal. At some point he will get a pay raise, but the question now is whether it will happen this year, next offseason, in free agency, or via trade.

If Boone continues his holdout, the latest it would likely last is Week 11. He needs to be active at least six weeks to accrue a season and not have his contract toll. Whether the 49ers are willing to wait that long will depend on who emerges in Boone's place. If Joe Looney or Adam Snyder is good enough to cover, maybe you wait the first three months. If neither can really do the job, maybe the team ends up crumbling. I would be surprised to see them crumble in negotiations, but anything is possible.

But if they are getting "good enough" work from Looney or Snyder (or whomever), at what point does a trade become a more realistic possibility? If the team is at least somewhat comfortable with their right guard situation, do they look to do a deal. I am certain there are teams out there that would be happy to trade for Boone, and give him a long term deal in the process. There are teams with extensive cap space that can afford to do that, and maybe they're willing to give up picks in return. It remains to be seen what kind of picks the 49ers could get, but I have to think there are deals to be made.

How do you see this situation resolving itself? Does Boone get a new deal sometime this year, does he return late in the season to get his accrued year and we go through this again next year, or do the 49ers trade him? Or maybe mystery door No. 4?