General manager Trent Baalke and other members of the 49ers have reached out recently to holdout Alex Boone, according to multiple sources, but the team's starting right guard remains resolute in his stance.
As it stands now Boone ranks 43rd in the NFL in average salary for guards. He signed his current deal in 2011 when he was a backup at tackle. He's seeking a new deal that will pay him commensurate with a starting guard, his role since the beginning of the 2012 season.
In meeting with reporters on Saturday, Baalke refused to talk about Boone's holdout, including whether the 49ers negotiate with players who are not in training camp. Boone, who went undrafted in 2009, has two years left on his current deal.
“Once again, nothing positive is going to come from discussing any of this, our strategy, how we deal with players, how we deal with this situation or others,” Baalke said. “I've never seen anything positive come from that.”
The 49ers last week restructured outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks' contract, creating an extra $2 million in salary-cap space. Overall, the team has a little less than $10 million in cap space, which doesn't include Boone's $2.59 million cap figure.
That's enough room to extend another player's contract or it could roll over to next season's cap. The 49ers are not believed to be close to a deal with another player, although they will begin exploring their options. Two of their most prominent players, receiver Michael Crabtree and guard Mike Iupati, are in the final year of their current deals and likely want to see what their value is on the free-agent market in March.
Baalke said the team would try to work out extensions with Crabtree and Iupati. “But at some point you’ve got to stop negotiating deals and let these guys concentrate on football,” he said. “I don’t what point that is. We’ll make that determination as a club. But we’re going to certainly work toward that goal. Those are two very good football players and guys that we would love to have in this organization for a long time.”
Boone had been the team's starting guard and its top option at tackle if something happened to starters Joe Staley or Anthony Davis. Jonathan Martin has been filling in at right tackle for Davis while he recovers from a shoulder injury and has struggled at times. Adam Snyder, Ryan Seymour and Carter Bykowski are other options at tackle.
Joe Looney, meanwhile, has been filling in at Boone's former spot at guard and has looked good.
“I think he proved last year when he went in there in, I believe, it was the Ram game,” Baalke said. “Joe went down and Boone kicked over to left tackle and Joe (Looney) stepped in, he played against one of the better defensive linemen in the league and did a really nice job He showed he was more than capable. And now he’s a year better. So we’re very confident in his ability to step in there and play football at a winning level.”