The 49ers must Do Right by Raheem Mostert

Grant Cohn

Raheem Mostert asked for a raise, and the 49ers said no. Or said nothing. Or put his raise on hold. Either way, they haven’t given Mostert more money. This we know.

So what’s next?

Let’s look at things from Mostert’s perspective. I haven’t spoken to him about this, but it’s easy to see where he’s coming from.

Mostert turned 28 in April. He’s not young, and running backs have short shelf lives because they take so much punishment every time they touch the ball. His career could end at any moment. He needs this raise.

In five seasons in the NFL, six teams have cut Mostert. He has earned $4.4 million -- not much for a five-year vet. And after federal taxes and California taxes and agent fees, Mostert probably has kept half of that amount. He signed his first multi-year contract extension in 2019, because he played so well on special teams and the 49ers rewarded him for that. He will earn $2.9 million per season until 2022.

But now he’s the 49ers lead running back, and an excellent one. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry last season -- more than any other NFL running back. And he scored 15 touchdowns, counting playoff games. If I were Mostert, I’d feel I’ve graduated past a mere special-teamer’s contract.

Mostert has zero guaranteed money remaining in his deal. Meaning if he suffers a career-ending injury during training camp -- quite common for running backs -- the 49ers could cut him and pay him nothing. And then Mostert would have to become a real estate agent or car salesman. He’s not set for life.

Why would the 49ers make Mostert worry about that scenario? Why not give him security, make him feel wanted? He has earned it.

Mostert played so hard for the 49ers last season. Put his body on the line even though he had no long-term financial protection. And they would not have made the Super Bowl without him. He carried them at times, and was their best player in the NFC Championship game, when he ran for 220 yards and four touchdowns.

And since 2015, Mostert has worked his way up from practice-squad player to special-teams standout to potential top-five running back in the NFL. He’s the kind of player teams should want to take care of.

And taking care of Mostert wouldn’t cost the 49ers much. Running backs are cheap, and I doubt Mostert wants to be the highest-paid running back in the NFL. But he deserves to be the highest-paid running back on his own team. Tevin Coleman currently makes $4.25 million per season, or $1.35 million more than Mostert. Not right. Not fair. Not just. Coleman is relentlessly mediocre. He averaged just 4 yards per carry last season.

Mostert also deserves to be one of the 20-highest-paid players on the 49ers in terms of average salary. He currently ranks 21st behind players such as Solomon Thomas and Robbie Gould. Not right. Not fair. Not just.

The 49ers should pay Mostert at least $5 million per season, or roughly what they pay fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Both are integral to the offense’s success. And if the 49ers need to create cap space to pay Mostert, they always can cut Coleman and free up $2.55 million. Coleman is replaceable.

If I were Mostert, I would want the 49ers to make this right.

If they don’t make it right, Mostert could request a trade. Or he could hold out. Or he could opt out of the 2020 season entirely, and say his current contract doesn’t provide enough incentive for him to play during a global pandemic and risk spreading Covid to his wife and children.

Losing Mostert would seriously damage the 49ers’ chances of winning the Super Bowl next season. He’s one of their most important players. They need him.

If I were Mostert, I would hold out. You bet I would.

Wouldn’t you?

Comments (21)
No. 1-10
SteveLD
SteveLD

Bottom line: Mostert has no leverage whatsoever. He's 28 and until he came to the 49ers he had a nondescript career. The Niners gave him a chance and he took it and he's been great. But the Niners have no obligation to pay him more than what he is under contract to be paid, and they'd be foolish to cave and sign him to a rich contract, because the reality is that it makes no sense to pay a lot of money to running backs. If he holds out, they'll play Coleman and McKinnon.

From the team's point of view, you don't pay players what they deserve. You pay whatever is necessary to build a team that can win the Super Bowl. Signing Kittle to a long term extension is a priority. If boosting Mostert's pay makes that more difficult then it makes no sense to do it.

If Mostert holds out, his career is over. He's not going to hold out.

Giovanni 43
Giovanni 43

Jimmy G I think will get us back and win Super Bowl For sure go my Niners let’s go get it boys

Dave15
Dave15

Dear Mr. Quest- You've GOT to be kidding me!!!! I've lived and died with the 49ers since, as a young child, observing my dad's heartache in the 1957 playoff game loss to the Lions. That's right....1957. And I won't get into which of us was the better athlete because your beliefs on Kittle's abilities reflect our vastly divergent athletic appreciation perfectly enough. So let me get this straight....you believe that Kittle would suddenly not be the best blocking tight end in the entire NFL without his current head coach? AND...you believe that Kittle would have crumpled to the ground on first contact in New Orleans at the 49ers own 35 yard line with only 36 seconds remaining in the game instead gaining an additional 38 yards, the last 23 of which a defender was pulling with all his might on Kittle's face mask in an attempt to break his neck, the final 9 of which a 2nd defender had joined the 1st in attempting to stop his progress and the very last 5 yards of which a THIRD defender had joined the mob tackling attempt, setting up the game winning FG....without his current head coach? Amazing athletic insight by you. Thank God you're not a 49er scout. As or Shanahan- I really like him as our head coach. He's young and he's a brilliant offensive mind. but he has lessons to learn.....2 Super Bowls, 2 leads, 2 late offensive melt downs, 2 losses. I agree 100% with Grant Cohn. Mostert should not take the field again without either some sort of financial guarantee or a new contract.

Boise49erfan
Boise49erfan

No I wouldn't hold out if I was Mosert. He is making $2.9 million this year as one of three running backs by committee. And yes there is the pesky salary cap. I would sign Kittle, and many others before Mosert.

Megalodon1013
Megalodon1013

Has everyone, especially Grant, forgotten about the salary cap? Why sign Mostert before you sign your best run blocker?

Mac49
Mac49

Quest and Niner. You both have good arguments. Grant is right about the comparison between Colman and Mostert.

Quest4Six
Quest4Six

Why do you act like you haven’t seen with your own eyes that Shanny is the reason Mostert has so much success, the same reason Kittle has so much success. Shanny schemes Kittle wide open by keepin defenses so off balance. Literally all Kittle needs to be able to do is catch the ball while wide open and then have the yac ability which Shanny hand picks all his guys to have this trait.
Mostert, is no different. It’s real easy to to pick up 5 plus yards a carry because your offensive coordinator is making everything real easy for you. Especially in a zone run scheme! Mostert is still a special teams player on any other team. Kittle is not a superstar on any other team.
Shanny is the only superstar on this offense. And yes I’m a die hard Niner fan

Niner4life41
Niner4life41

Grant is speaking the truth! Mostert is severely underpaid and deserves a pay raise at least. How can you pay Tevin Coleman that much more when he was clearly the worst RB on the team last season? Not only we don’t beat Green Bay in the NFC title game without him, but we wouldn’t of finished the season 13-3 and had the 1 seed without him either. Mostert could lead the NFL in rushing yards if he got 20 carries a game. He’s that good. 5.6 YPC is ridiculous. Lynch can easily cut Coleman to free up an extra few million to make Mostert the highest paid RB on the team.

French-Dog85
French-Dog85

I see the nonsensical Kyle Shanahan extension argument got left out of this repeat article....

bnez22
bnez22

You have a bad attitude grant.....you need an adjustment.


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