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 for Tevin Coleman for the team lead with 137 carries during the regular season but had more playoff rushing attempts (53) than any other 49er.

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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 one of the highest-paid players 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.

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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 facing 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. 

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