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49ers free agents 2016: Projecting a contract for Alex Boone

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Alex Boone is set to hit free agency. We take a look at a potential contract for Boone as he gets ready for an expected big pay day.

The San Francisco 49ers have a handful of notable free agents set to hit the market in March. In recent years, when they have extended their own players, it has frequently come prior to free agency. That does not bode well for these players, but the market will dictate what will happen. Over the next week, I will be taking a look at four of these unrestricted free agent, giving contract comparisons on what to expect if the 49ers do attempt to retain that player.

We started with defensive tackle Ian Williams, and then moved on to wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Today, we move on to offensive lineman Alex Boone.

Boone had a notable holdout back during the 2014 offseason. He held out through the preseason, and eventually agreed to a new contract in the days leading up to Week 1. In reality, it was mostly the same contract, but they moved his roster bonuses into his base salary. Since he was a vested veteran at the time, that meant that by being on the 53-man roster for Week 1, it became guaranteed. Weekly game-day roster bonuses could have been lost due to injury.

The other thing that was key for Boone's side of the negotiation was his status after 2015. The new contract included a clause that prevented the 49ers from placing the franchise tag on him when he hit free agency.

Where this gets complicated is the kind of contract that would satisfy Boone, whether it be in San Francisco or elsewhere. He entered the NFL as a tackle, but was moved to guard. He has still served as Joe Staley's backup, and looked solid as a tackle. While guards can make very solid money, premier tackles can make a good deal more. The 49ers might get Anthony Davis back this coming season, and Trenton Brown showed some potential late in the season at right tackle.

Odds are high that if the 49ers do want to bring back Boone, it would probably not be in a tackle role. And so, do the 49ers premier right guard or left guard money? That's the biggest question to me, so I thought I would list out both positions in the comparisons below.

For these comparison, I must give all credit to Jason Fitzgerald, and his team at Over The Cap. For a look at these deals, click the players name, as I have linked their player page from OTC.

Left Guards

Mike Iupati - Arizona Cardinals

A year ago, Iupati signed a 5-year deal, worth $40 million. He received $15.75 million fully guaranteed at signing, including a $6 million signing bonus. The deal averages $8 million per year. Here is the contract breakdown:

Year Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Workout Other Cap #
2015 $1,500,000 $1,200,000 $4,000,000 $0 $0 $6,700,000
2016 $4,500,000 $1,200,000 $0 $0 $0 $5,700,000
2017 $8,000,000 $1,200,000 $0 $0 $0 $9,200,000
2018 $7,750,000 $1,200,000 $250,000 $0 $0 $9,200,000
2019 $7,750,000 $1,200,000 $250,000 $0 $0 $9,200,000

Orlando Franklin - San Diego Chargers

A year ago, Franklin signed a 5-year deal, worth $36.5 million. He received $16.5 million fully guaranteed, including an $8 million signing bonus. The deal averages $7.3 million per year. Here is the contract breakdown:

Year Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Workout Other Cap #
2015 $3,000,000 $1,600,000 $0 $0 $0 $4,600,000
2016 $5,500,000 $1,600,000 $0 $0 $0 $7,200,000
2017 $6,000,000 $1,600,000 $0 $0 $0 $7,600,000
2018 $6,750,000 $1,600,000 $0 $0 $0 $8,350,000
2019 $7,250,000 $1,600,000 $0 $0 $0 $8,850,000

Josh Sitton - Green Bay Packers

In 2011, Sitton signed a 5-year extension, worth $33.75 million. He received $8.5 million fully guaranteed, and averages $6.75 million per year. Here is the contract breakdown:

Year Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Workout Other Cap #
2011 $700,000 $1,296,000 $2,900,000 $0 $0 $4,896,000
2012 $950,000 $1,200,000 $2,400,000 $300,000 $0 $4,850,000
2013 $3,400,000 $1,200,000 $650,000 $300,000 $0 $5,550,000
2014 $4,500,000 $1,200,000 $400,000 $300,000 $0 $6,400,000
2015 $5,100,000 $1,200,000 $400,000 $300,000 $0 $7,000,000
2016 $6,150,000 $0 $400,000 $300,000 $0 $6,850,000

Zane Beadles - Jacksonville Jaguars

Two years ago, Beadles signed a 5-year deal, worth $30 million. He received $9.475 million fully guaranteed, with the guarantees including $6.5 million in 2014 and 2015 roster bonuses. The deal averages $6 million per year. Here is the contract breakdown:

Year Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Workout Other Cap #
2014 $2,975,000 $0 $4,500,000 $25,000 $0 $7,500,000
2015 $2,975,000 $0 $2,000,000 $25,000 $0 $5,000,000
2016 $4,975,000 $0 $500,000 $25,000 $0 $5,500,000
2017 $5,475,000 $0 $500,000 $25,000 $0 $6,000,000
2018 $5,475,000 $0 $500,000 $25,000 $0 $6,000,000

Ben Grubbs - Kansas City Chiefs

A year ago, Grubbs signed a 4-year deal, worth $24 million. He received $6.6 million fully guaranteed, which includes a $5.6 million signing bonus. The deal averages $6 million per year. Here is the contract breakdown:

Year Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Workout Other Cap #
2015 $900,000 $1,400,000 $0 $100,000 $0 $2,400,000
2016 $4,800,000 $1,400,000 $0 $100,000 $0 $6,300,000
2017 $5,650,000 $1,400,000 $250,000 $100,000 $0 $7,400,000
2018 $6,150,000 $1,400,000 $250,000 $100,000 $0 $7,900,000

Right Guards

Marshall Yanda - Baltimore Ravens

This past October, Yanda signed a 4-year extension, worth $31,917,647. Yanda received $15.8 million fully guaranteed, including a $9 million signing bonus. The deal averages $7,979,412 per year. Here is the contract breakdown:

Year Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Workout Other Cap #
2015 $2,231,765 $4,750,000 $0 $0 $0 $6,981,765
2016 $6,185,882 $1,800,000 $0 $0 $0 $7,985,882
2017 $6,000,000 $1,800,000 $0 $0 $0 $7,800,000
2018 $7,000,000 $1,800,000 $0 $0 $0 $8,800,000
2019 $7,000,000 $1,800,000 $0 $0 $0 $8,800,000

Rodger Saffold - Los Angeles Rams

Two years ago, Saffold signed a 5-year deal, worth $31,722,233. He received $11 million fully guaranteed, including a $5 million signing bonus. The deal averages $6,344,447 per year. Here is the contract breakdown:

Year Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Workout Other Cap #
2014 $3,000,000 $1,000,000 $0 $0 $0 $4,000,000
2015 $4,250,000 $1,000,000 $3,000,000 $0 $0 $8,250,000
2016 $4,500,000 $1,000,000 $500,000 $0 $0 $5,656,250
2017 $4,722,233 $1,000,000 $500,000 $0 $0 $6,222,233
2018 $5,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,500,000 $0 $0 $7,500,000

Jahri Evans - New Orleans Saints

A year ago, Evans signed a 3-year extension, worth $18 million. He received $8.403 million fully guaranteed, including a $5.4 million signing bonus. The deal averages $6 million per year. Here is the contract breakdown:

Year Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Workout Other Cap #
2015 $1,003,000 $5,300,000 $597,000 $100,000 $0 $7,000,000
2016 $3,800,000 $3,300,000 $1,000,000 $100,000 $0 $8,200,000
2017 $4,900,000 $1,800,000 $1,000,000 $100,000 $0 $7,800,000

Louis Vasquez - Denver Broncos

In 2013, Vasquez signed a 4-year deal, worth $23.5 million. He received $7 million fully guaranteed, including a $5 million signing bonus. The deal averages $5.875 million per year. Here is the contract breakdown:

Year Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Workout Other Cap #
2013 $2,000,000 $1,250,000 $0 $0 $0 $3,250,000
2014 $3,000,000 $1,250,000 $3,000,000 $0 $0 $7,250,000
2015 $5,000,000 $1,250,000 $0 $0 $0 $6,250,000
2016 $5,500,000 $1,250,000 $0 $0 $0 $6,750,000

T.J. Lang - Green Bay Packers

In 2013, Lang signed a 4-year extension, worth $20.8 million. He received $5.5 million fully guaranteed, all in the form of a signing bonus. The deal averages $5.2 million per year. Here is the contract breakdown:

Year Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Workout Other Cap #
2013 $7,500,000 $1,100,000 $1,050,000 $200,000 $0 $3,100,000
2014 $3,500,000 $1,100,000 $300,000 $200,000 $0 $5,100,000
2015 $4,200,000 $1,100,000 $300,000 $200,000 $0 $5,800,000
2016 $4,600,000 $1,100,000 $300,000 $200,000 $0 $6,181,250

Now comes the fun part for me. While I do not think Boone returns, it is still a fun thought exercise to figure out a potential contract.

I would not go anywhere near what Iupati got last offseason, and I'm not keen on spending any more than $5-6 million a year on him. However, I highly doubt Boone will go for this type of deal, as he is more versatile than Iupati. Boone can play both guard spots, plus either tackle spot. If Boone ends up with guard money, I think he will be asking for a deal like what Iupati got. That would be in the $8 million a year range, with over $15 million guaranteed at signing. This is more than I would spend.

If it was my checkbook, I would offer a 4-year deal, worth $22 million. I would offer something around $8 million in fully guaranteed money, and I would load it up with game-day active roster bonuses and workout bonuses.

The 49ers have made it a regular occurrence to include fairly low guarantees, and have rolling guarantee dates. The most high profile example is Colin Kaepernick. His contract includes a 2016 base salary of $11.9 million. It is currently guaranteed for injury, but becomes fully guaranteed on April 1. The 49ers top guaranteed money after Kaepernick's $12,973,766 (not including that $11.9 million until he is on the roster after April 1), includes NaVorro Bowman ($11 million), Joe Staley ($10 million), Torrey Smith ($8.75 million), and Ahmad Brooks ($8.5 million).

The 49ers are also known for putting in roster bonuses tied to the active 46-man gameday roster. The highest on the team is Kaepernick with $2 million a year. That is followed by Bowman and Brooks at $750,000 apiece, and then Staley and Torrey Smith at $500,000 apiece. As you can see, the 49ers top 5 players in fully guaranteed money also have the highest roster bonuses in their contracts.

Do note that I am not including first round picks that signed deals under the current CBA. Those deals include the first three years fully guaranteed, and often all four years.

And so I am in a quandary. I doubt I would even offer Boone a contract, as it may be seen as a lowball offer. That could potentially hurt the 49ers chances at landing other free agents if they think the 49ers are going to "low-ball" their own players, no matter what our own perception is of the player.

As always you can follow me on Twitter, @Jay_AB81, or check our salary cap section here, on Niners Nation, which is now officially the exclusive home for my salary cap information.