Maybe the most important part of the success the San Francisco 49ers have experienced over the last few years has to do with their offensive line. At some point, that was going to cause them contract problems, and the holdout of Alex Boone might eventually lead to a trade of the right guard, with both the New York Giants and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers interested in having him.
The 27-year old isn’t a Pro Bowler, but he is considered as one of the best right guards in the NFL, starting for the 49ers in all 32 over the last couple of seasons, clearly outplaying the backup contract he signed (five-year deal) after 2011.
Right now, Boone is holding out, with Joe Looney playing for him in the preseason and training camp. For those who saw the Ravens beating the 49ers, it was easy to see the discomfort in the offensive line without Boone in it. Quite a few talented teams have fallen apart in recent years when they’ve had problems fixing offensive line problems.
Boone has two more seasons left on his deal worth $4 million combined. Obviously, a starting right guard who is an All-Pro caliber player, or at least an integral part of possibly the best offensive line in the NFL, is worth more than $2 million a season. The San Francisco 49ers made a bonus-heavy contract with Colin Kaepernick so they’d have flexibility to keep their key pieces from leaving.
The Giants and the Buccaneers, two teams with holes in their offensive line, have both shown interest in the player. However, it’ll be a last resort kind of move for the 49ers to actually trade Boone, hoping that at some point they’ll be able to find a number that brings him back into the fold, before it becomes too late and a Super Bowl caliber team might find it too difficult to keep that momentum going without one of its top performers.