Last week San Francisco 49ers Running Back Raheem Mostert requested a trade as contract negotiations broke down as he was looking for more money than the team’s front office was willing to pay him. Since this news became public, people have been questioning if the 2019 breakout season is enough to deserve the big money. In my opinion, I would say no. There are a few simple reasons for why I say this, production, the 49ers roster, and the value of Running Backs.
For a 28-year-old that has been in the league since 2015, Mostert’s legs are as fresh as can be for a Running Back at that age. In 50 career regular season games he only has 1,069 yards rushing on 178 attempts, which is not a lot at all, and that will go to help his case for getting paid somewhere. In my opinion he is riding the hype from the 3 playoff games last year where he ran 53 times for 336 yards and 5 TD, which gave him a total of 13 TDs in all games in 2019. I will concede a point as he was the top rusher on the team last season, but the other two guys weren’t far behind, but I just cant justify a rewarding a one year wonder. These numbers don’t prove to me that he is anything more than a 3rd Running Back on that depth chart, and his 0 career starts telling me the same thing. In fact, there is no way he would have got that many reps in the playoffs if all the other solid RBs on the team were not injured.
That takes me to the next point on why I do not think he’s worth the money, and simply put if Matt Breida is not worth the contract extension, no way Mostert is. In 2018, the 49ers paid big money to Jerrick McKinnon, and before he went down with an ACL tear last year, I fully expected him to be the number 1 guy on the depth chart. Last year they also paid Tevin Coleman, who was a Running Back when Coach Kyle Shanahan was in Atlanta, so clearly, he is a favorite for the system. Although Coleman and McKinnon aren’t any younger than Mostert, in my eyes they both have way more talent. Then you look at the offensive line on the roster, and if they are as good as they were last year (had three different Running Backs rush for over 500 yards), I think it will be easy to give Mostert’s reps to another back and they will do fine.
The final point I want to address tags off that other point. The market for Running Backs is still terrible, and most coaches aren’t willing to pay top dollar as they know they can get younger and fresher legs from the draft or free agency easily. Case and point, the 49ers signed undrafted rookie free agent JaMycal Hasty who will most likely come in and take Mostert’s reps once he’s gone, and then hopefully McKinnon can play this season and he will take all the reps that Breida left on the table. Shanahan also has a track record for getting the most out of lesser known Running Backs who couldn’t live up to there previous production without Shanahan, and thus I think Mostert is in the same boat and is a product of a great scheme.
Although I don’t believe the 49ers should pay Raheem Mostert, and think they should trade him, I hope he proves to me and everyone else that he is not just a one year wonder that was a product of the system.