We've officially reached the point in right guard Alex Boone's holdout where trade rumors are starting to pick up. The San Francisco 49ers are a better team with Boone, but as an organization, they seem to have dug in for the long run. I don't know how much money Boone wants and I don't know how much money the 49ers are willing to give him. All I know is that I wouldn't be surprised if he plays elsewhere in 2014.
A conversation with Tre9er on Twitter yesterday did make me realize something though: we keep talking about right guard Alex Boone and his potential to be traded to guard-needy teams. After all, he's shown he can play inside exceptionally well. But Boone has also proven to be an effective offensive tackle, long before he was considered for the guard position.
In fact, he stepped in for Joe Staley and played pretty much flawlessly from the left tackle spot. He's a natural on both ends and at both guard spots. I'd submit that Boone is more talented than most of the starting right and left tackles in the league at this point. We have limited film to back this up, but we also have no film that goes against this notion.
I'm not saying Boone suddenly has the value of a top-flight left tackle (he does, just not on the trade market), but I'm starting to think some of this talk about a mid-round pick in exchange for him is a little on the low side. Fooch wasn't too optimistic about a conditional second- or third-round pick being possible from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and I'm not sure where I stand.
I think more than the fact that a team might not be willing to give up more than or equal to that is the fact that ... I don't think I'd be happy with that. So maybe a team gives up a second-round pick ... I'm not sure I'm happy with that. Boone is worth more than that, and he's worth more than that to the 49ers specifically, too. He can play four out of five positions on the line and hey, I'm not too hot on a 6'7 center, but if he can figure out how to snap the ball I'm sure we could make it five.
When Boone is playing, regardless of where he is, I'm simply not worried about that spot. Could Mike Iupati be leaving? Put Boone there. Or keep him at right guard. Or maybe Joe Staley suddenly wants some of that top LT money. Or maybe Anthony Davis gets hurt. Boone slots into all of those spots with ease, and his ability to perform at a high level at them, especially at LT, means he's incredibly value. Way more valuable than people seem to be thinking, in my opinion.