49ers Raheem Mostert needs to back up last season’s efforts
By Peter Panacy
Projected role with 49ers in 2020
There’s always the chance the Niners trade off Raheem Mostert between now and Week 1, honoring his earlier request. After all, Mostert’s stock value has never been higher and the 49ers could use some additional draft capital to offset their decreasing amounts of salary cap space.
San Francisco 49ers
Or, just as possibly, San Francisco could meet some/all of Mostert’s financial demands, perhaps converting some of his base salary into guarantees.
As far as the on-field roles go, Mostert’s primary competition during the regular season is likely going to be Jerick McKinnon. Last year, Kyle Shanahan frequently used Tevin Coleman, not Mostert, as the featured tailback early in games. While Mostert faced plenty of eight-man defensive fronts last year, Coleman actually led the entire NFL in this particular category, facing eight-man boxes a whopping 40.2 percent of the time.
So it’s likely Shanahan will employ the same scheme again, using Coleman early in games before shifting to a combination of Mostert and McKinnon on third downs and later in contests.
Because of this, there will still be opportunities for Mostert to rip off the chunk plays he enjoyed so much in 2019. McKinnon’s availability and usage could ultimately cut into the total number of touches Mostert would otherwise receive. Yet in the long run, a trio of healthy tailbacks in the rotation could benefit all three players and keep San Francisco’s rushing attack fresh.
Mostert may not reach the 1,000-yard plateau for rushing this season. But if he wants to get paid like a top-end running back, he’ll need to at least come close.
Especially this late in his career.