SANTA CLARA -- What would it take to pry holdout Alex Boone from the 49ers? According to one source, the 49ers are asking for a first- or a second-round draft as compensation. Another, however, said that the team would rather not trade Boone and would have to be “blown away” by an offer to consider it.
Both point to one bottom line: The 49ers have a high value on Boone and would rather he play for them. Boone, by all accounts, wants to be with the 49ers where he has started the last two seasons at right guard.
He has held out 29 days since the start of training camp. His agents, Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod, have a track record of holding clients out while they negotiate better deals.
As it stands now Boone is the 43-highest paid guard in the league in average salary. The 49ers have made an offer to Boone, but it was not close to what he is seeking and the two sides remain far apart. That's why, despite the two sides' mutual interest in seeing Boone remain in San Francisco, the stalemate has dragged on.
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Players, meanwhile, have been put in an awkward situation. They are loyal to Boone – many have reached out to him privately during his holdout – but none has spoken out publicly on his behalf. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, for instance, has said that he worked with the 49ers on his recent contract extension so that they'd be able to sign other players looking for new deals.
Asked specifically about Boone on Tuesday, Kaepernick said of the 49ers' front office, “That’s their decision. For me, I try to do something where we gave them space to be able to get players back. Now, who they sign and what they do with it is really up to them.”
Asked Tuesday whether he had spoken to Boone, Jim Harbaugh paused. “Again, I’m not going to get into it, relay it, open up the conversation as it relates to contracts, et cetera,” he said. Harbaugh later lauded Boone’s backup, Joe Looney, who on Sunday will start his third straight preseason game at right guard.
“He’s doing very well for us,” Harbaugh said. “He came in last year for us and played well. So I think he’s someone that we have confidence in and the more time he’s on the field, the more confidence we have.”
A number of teams could use an upgrade on their offensive line and Boone can play either guard or tackle. That list includes the Giants, Buccaneers and Falcons, who recently lost tackle Sam Baker for the season with a knee injury. Those teams are in the NFC, and it's unknown whether the 49ers would ever entertain dealing Boone to a team inside the conference.