Will Raheem Mostert’s Trade Request Cause a Rift?
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Raheem Mostert was beloved and supported by all 49ers fans just over five months ago. Fresh off of his historic NFC Championship performance, Mostert was essentially everyone’s favorite.
Now he is climbing the ladder towards being public enemy No. 1 after his recent trade request.
Whenever a player requests a trade, it’s almost always met negatively from fans. It makes sense because that player is essentially saying they do not want to be apart of the team. However, the fans aren’t the only entity that can perceive trade requests as negative.
The players and coaches themselves can very well view it in a negative connotation. Take Texans running back Duke Johnson Jr. for instance. Last season he wanted out of Cleveland (who doesn’t?) and as soon as that trade request was known by the team, Baker Mayfield didn’t hesitate to publicly rip him.
Now I’m not saying players of the 49ers will do something similar, but something divisive could ensue. With that said: will Mostert’s trade request cause a rift in the locker room?
It’s a bit difficult to envision that it would because of the tight-knit bond each and every player has with each other. Surely the players would understand where Mostert is coming from and give the typical “it’s a business” answer when describing the situation.
Still, there could be some annoyance with Mostert’s trade request.
Teammates could feel that he is turning his back on them. Having a standoff with the front office over a contract is one thing. Saying you want to leave the team is another. That is what could cause some teammates to distance themselves from Mostert or shed a different light on him.
Just imagine how awkward it must be for Tevin Coleman. Mostert is essentially demanding the 49ers to pay him Coleman's salary because he is the better running back. How is that going to make Coleman feel?
The same could be said for the coaches, even Kyle Shanahan. If Mostert ends up staying on board, then Shanahan could start skewing the carries towards other running backs - subtly phasing Mostert out. It wouldn’t be the first time Shanahan has done that. Just ask Matt Breida. He had to stand on the sidelines and watch Jeff Wilson Jr. receive actual playing time over him in the Super Bowl.
It’s not a far-fetched scenario that Mostert could see his role diminished as the season goes on. The 49ers are on the cusp of building something special. This team could even build itself up as a dynasty. But it is contract disputes like this that can create a rift and snowball into something greater.
What if other players end up taking Mostert’s side?
They could start viewing this as the front office showing its true colors. That when you deserve to be rightfully paid, the 49ers will continue to take advantage of you. This situation can veer off in multiple directions and should not be treated lightly. Mostert is a respected player in that locker room. One major false step by the Niners and it could cause calamity.
I do believe this team is strong enough to not let this dispute affect them. However, this is the first time that Shanahan and John Lynch have had a player demand a trade (publicly) following failed contract negotiations. There is a decent chance that a rift could be created. It’s on the 49ers to handle this carefully to ensure that it doesn’t become reality.
Otherwise, it could derail their goal of returning to the Super Bowl.