NFL rumors: 49ers' Raheem Mostert requested pay raise this offseason

NFL rumors: 49ers' Raheem Mostert requested pay raise this offseason

Raheem Mostert became the 49ers' lead running back last season, and he reportedly wants to be paid like it.

Mostert "wants a more meaningful acknowledgment of his elevated production" beyond the rushing incentives in the contract he signed with the 49ers last March, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson.

Although he didn't start a single game in 2019, Mostert became the 49ers' top rushing option by the time they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV in February. Mostert tied Tevin Coleman for the team lead with 137 carries during the regular season but had more playoff rushing attempts (53) than any other 49er.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Mostert rushed for a career-high 772 yards in the regular season, adding 336 more on the ground in the postseason. From Week 13 on, Mostert carried the ball at least 10 times in every game and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. Only Tennessee Titans star Derrick Henry ran for more yards during that time.

The 49ers and Mostert reportedly have discussed a contract extension, and the running back can become an unrestricted free agent in 2022. Mostert's base salary will increase from $1.4 million to $2.575 million in 2020 and $2.825 million in 2021, according to Over the Cap. With a $333,333 prorated bonus and a per-game roster bonus of up to $250,000, Mostert carries a cap number of just under $3.16 million next season.

That accounts for 1.5 percent of the salary cap, and Mostert carries the 24th-highest cap number among running backs. Both Coleman (13th) and former 49ers running back Matt Breida (22nd) have bigger cap numbers than Mostert.

Only seven teams spend more money against the salary cap on running backs than the 49ers, but that could change as soon as next season. Tight end George Kittle is eligible to sign an extension, and he likely will become the highest-paid player at his position. Newly acquired left tackle Trent Williams can become an unrestricted free agent in 2021, as can cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Jacquiski Tartt.

[RELATED: 49ers' Reed sidelined with torn pec as injuries pile up]

Coleman and fellow running back Jerick McKinnon are also set to hit the market then, so the 49ers conceivably would have more room for a Mostert raise. Retaining most -- let alone all -- of their free agents will be a challenge next offseason, and re-working Mostert's contract could make it more difficult.

After reaching the Super Bowl last season, the 49ers face the reality every great team in a salary-capped league must face. The bill for success always comes due, and Mostert's reported demands are another indication of what looms for San Francisco in future offseasons. 

49ers' Fred Warner not surprised peers consider him one of best in NFL

49ers' Fred Warner not surprised peers consider him one of best in NFL

Linebacker Fred Warner was a solid 16-game starter as a rookie for the 49ers in 2018.

Last season, he broke out.

Warner was selected as the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November. He led the 49ers for the second straight season in tackles, returned an interception for a touchdown, broke up nine passes, forced three fumbles, registered three sacks and had seven tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He capped his season with an interception of Patrick Mahomes in the team's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.

Recently, Warner was announced as the No. 70 player in the game in a vote of players on the NFL Network.

"I wouldn't say I was surprised at all,” Warner said. “I felt like I competed at a high level last year. I think my peers saw that. It probably wasn't reflected in the awards last year when it came to All-Pro and those sorts of things, but obviously we got to the Super Bowl.

“That’s all I care about and continuing to be the best player I can for this team so that we can make it back to that game and make sure the outcome is how we want it.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

The 49ers are in the early stages of training camp. Despite all the restrictions and changes to the typical camp routine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Warner said the 49ers are intent on remaining focused on preparations for the regular season, which begins Sept. 13 against the Arizona Cardinals.

“I don’t think a lot has changed,” Warner said. “When we get out there, it’s all business. We’re all hungry to get back at it and get going.”

[RELATED49ers need production from Taylor with Benjamin's opt-out]

The NFL canceled all preseason games this summer. Teams generally do not tackle in practices. But for someone who makes his living tackling, Warner said he is not concerned about lacking precision once the season begins.

“I’m not worried about that one bit,” Warner said. “The way we practice and we prepare is all you need. We do thump in practice, but we’re not bringing guys to the ground. We’re working on our technique and tracking, making sure that we’re working that technique in practice, so that when we do come to the games it’s all natural.”

How Jalen Hurd's physicality has stood out to 49ers' Raheem Mostert

How Jalen Hurd's physicality has stood out to 49ers' Raheem Mostert

Jalen Hurd only played in the preseason last year before a back injury ultimately cut short his rookie season, but the 49ers wide receiver nonetheless flashed intriguing potential with a two-touchdown performance against the Dallas Cowboys.

But Hurd's potential as a blocker is what most excites 49ers running back Raheem Mostert.

"[He's] gonna go out there and he's gonna put his all, especially with what I've seen these past couple years when he's been healthy," Mostert said of Hurd on Wednesday when he was asked about the 49ers' big receivers and their blocking ability. "Going out there, and trying to de-cleat somebody. That's inspiring in itself as a running back because you know that he's gonna do his job to the best of his ability, and he's gonna put his body out there on the line. Why not do the same as a runner?"

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Hurd certainly has the measurables to be an effective run blocker. He also played running back at Tennessee before transitioning to wide receiver when he transferred to Baylor, checking the important "positional versatility" box for coach Kyle Shanahan.

The 49ers spoke openly of how much they value blocking contributions from skill-position players all along the way to Super Bowl LIV, and the role their wide receivers and tight ends played in San Francisco rushing for more yards (2,305) than any team but the Baltimore Ravens in the regular season. Shanahan said George Kittle set the tone in that regard.

“I mean, he had more yards in the pass game as a tight end in the history of the NFL [in 2018],” Shanahan said of the tight end in January. “So, any time you have a guy like that who's one of the best players on your team who's always just talking about running the ball and playing the physicality in the game and giving everything you can, it helps you hold everyone else a lot more accountable, and rarely do you have to."

[RELATED: Mostert knew he would remain with 49ers 'no matter what']

Can Hurd provide similar value during his first full NFL season in 2020? He has the size, and Mostert believes Hurd definitely has the skills.

"It's nice to see those guys out there coming back, especially Jalen, because he is a bigger receiver and he's more physical," Mostert continued. "He's one of -- probably the most physical receiver I've seen, tape-wise and even going out there practicing. It's nice to see him back."