The Ravens and 49ers are right in the middle of their joint practice sessions, otherwise known as “HarbCamp.” Players for both teams get the benefit of some quality competition and reps in a “friendly” atmosphere. One player that isn’t participating in this event, or any 49ers practices for that matter, is offensive guard Alex Boone. Boone is holding out from organized activities in an attempt to squeeze a raise out of the team.
Boone is a dominant guard and a key cog in team’s excellent offensive line, but he is currently the 43rd highest paid guard in the league. The 49ers have around $10 million in cap space to play with, but have been vocal about their refusal to set a precedent by rewarding players who hold out. On top of that, they have other players (i.e. Vernon Davis) who are looking to get raises on their current contracts as well.
Any time a player reaches an impasse with a team, the trade rumors are bound to start flying. And in the case of Boone, they are certainly doing just that. Bill Williamson at ESPN dropped this gem via Twitter yesterday.
#49ers Feeling around league is multiple teams are poised to show interest in trading for holdout G. Alex Boone.
— Bill Williamson (@BWilliamsonESPN) August 9, 2014
Could the Ravens, who are working on retooling their own offensive line, be one of those “multiple teams?” Boone plays right guard for the Niners, which is currently occupied by Pro Bowler Marshal Yanda in Baltimore. Kelechi Osemele is penciled in as the starter at left guard, and has had a solid camp after his return from offseason back surgery. As with any great organization, however, the Ravens would at least consider any move that would make the team better.
Osemele played left tackle in college and has spent some time at right tackle with the Ravens, so a position switch wouldn’t be out of the question. In this scenario, Osemele could kick out to right tackle to compete with Rick Wagner. This lineup would instantly make the Raven’s offensive line one of the best in the NFL. Alex Boone is a mauling presence in the run game and a great pass protector as well, so he would be an upgrade no matter how you shuffle things.
More importantly, would the 49ers let the 3rd best guard in the NFL (per Pro Football Focus rankings) walk? It’s a hard scenario to imagine, but not out of the question. If the team gives him a healthy raise, they will create a dangerous precedent and other players will surely hold out in the future. If they don’t, they risk losing a key player that will prove hard to replace. The 49ers are certainly in a tough position here.
Do you think the Ravens should pursue Alex Boone, if he truly is available, in a trade?