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Golden Nuggets: Does Raheem Mostert have any leverage?

Running backs are a dime-a-dozen in the NFL, and head coach Kyle Shanahan always seems to get the best out of them

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Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

It was a surprise to hear that San Francisco 49ers’ running back Raheem Mostert requested a trade after not being able to negotiate a raise on his current contract. Mostert led the Niners in rushing last season with 772 yards on the ground, and 10 total touchdowns. He was tops in the NFL among running backs averaging 5.6 yards per carry.

The 28-year-old was phenomenal in the playoffs as well. He averaged 112 yards per game, with five touchdowns over three contests, including a ridiculous 220-yard, four score performance against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship.

Despite the eye-popping numbers, NBC Bay Area’s Brian Witt says the running back has no leverage:

Mostert is due to make $2.575 and $2.875 million in base salary over the next two seasons. Though his 2020 base salary is considerably lower than Tevin Coleman’s ($4.55 million), it’s still the 18th-highest base salary among all NFL running backs for the upcoming season. As such, the 49ers could argue he already is being paid like a starter.”

The other factor working against Mostert is that the 49ers have depth at the position. San Francisco is bringing back Coleman, Jerick McKinnion, and Jeff Wilson Jr. They also brought in undrafted free agents JaMychal Hasty and Salvon Ahmed.

Now, does Mostert have a claim to be paid as much as Coleman? Absolutely. He outperformed Coleman in nearly every statistical category, including: rushing yards, yards per carry, touchdowns, and yards from scrimmage. Coleman did have seven more receptions, but him and Mostert were equal on total receiving yards at 180.

But, Mostert is on his seventh NFL team, and there is definitely a case that his numbers were a result of playing in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s system. Running backs have always fared well with Shanahan running the offense, no matter where it has been. He made Devonta Freeman look like a world-beater in 2015 and 2016, when Freeman had back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons with the Atlanta Falcons.

General manager John Lynch could decide to call Mostert’s bluff, and let him sit for as long he wants. Mostert is still under contract for two more years, so in essence he would just be hurting himself. The shelf-life of an NFL running back isn’t very long, and at 28 years of age, Mostert needs to take what he can get at this point.

Do you think Mostert will be on the 49ers to start the 2020 season?

On to some (Mostert related) links:

Some NFL teams may be will to part with a draft pick to acquire Mostert. Fansided’s Mike Luciano lists five clubs who should try and land the running back.

All-of-a-sudden, San Francisco is having issues with player contracts, something that wasn’t happening when Fart Jim Tomsula was coaching. NBC Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco says Mostert’s demands are a result of the franchise’s success.

We all expect the 49ers to contend for a Super Bowl again in 2020, but what if everything that could go wrong, does? PFF’s Ben Linsey looks at the best-and-worse case scenarios for each NFL team, and has an interesting take on the Niners.

It remains to be seen if former 49ers’ QB Colin Kaepernick will get a shot to sign with a team before training camp. Current Niners George Kittle says Kap is a great player, and that he deserves an opportunity to be in the NFL. (Fox News)

With training camp set to open at the end of the month, expect to see a whole lot of season previews coming out in the next while. ESPN’s Mina Kimes previewed the NFC West on her recent show. You can hear her thoughts on the Niners at 39:30.

Where would you rank Levi’s Stadium among its NFL counterparts? The Athletic’s Jon Machota ran a poll ranking the best-and-worst NFL stadiums, and the 49ers’ home comes in somewhere in the middle.