A Pro Bowl selection over the last three years, Mike Iupati is heading into the free agency market knowing he’s going to get paid, and while the San Francisco 49ers will try to keep him, the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are probably willing to offer a little bit more.
Iupati completed five very successful seasons with the 49ers, which included making the First All-Pro team in 2012. The 49ers are the third best team in rushing yards before contact since Iupati joined them as a 1st round pick in 2010 (17th overall), surprisingly coming out of Idaho. He has missed four games overall in the last couple of seasons, and overall there have been very few guards better than him in the NFL since the beginning of the 2012 season.
It’s hard to find any team in the NFL without some sort of need in their offensive line, but both the Redskins and the Buccaneers aren’t just one quick fix away from being pleased with their line. Adding Iupati isn’t going to be cheap, but it’s a major addition, and also quite a blow to the 49ers themselves who were already having problems in protecting their quarterback this season on a lot of occasions.
So how much will Iupati get paid? He made $4.6 million last season, but will be looking to get a total package worth at least $6-7 million a season. The Buccaneers are already paying Logan Mankins $7 million next season. He’s the highest paid left guard in the NFL, and adding Iupati to that line will mean moving either one of them to the right side of center.