Prior to the 2019 season, Raheem Mostert had just 42 carries to his name. But thanks to Kyle Shanahan’s running back-friendly scheme, the former undrafted free agent became a key cog for the San Francisco 49ers. While Mostert definitely deserves a raise, he will ruin his NFL career if the 49ers grant his wish to be traded.
Raheem Mostert went from an unknown to 49ers savior
Before he broke out last season, Raheem Mostert’s NFL career mostly consisted of getting cut and re-signed. A quick look at his transaction history reveals a player who clearly possessed enough talent to get looks from multiple NFL teams. Yet, the speedy tailback barely saw the field and mostly played special teams.
After bouncing around practice squads and active rosters for years, Mostert finally found a home in San Fransico. He proved his worth and earned a three-year, $8.7 million deal in March 2019. However, that looks like a major bargain after Mostert’s breakout campaign.
With Tevin Coleman and Jerrick McKinnon injured, the 5-foot-10, 197-pounder finally got a chance to see the field. This time, the former track star maximized his opportunity. Despite never earning a single start, Mostert exploded for 772 rushing yards on just 137 carries (5.6 yards per carry) to go along with eight touchdowns. He also caught 14 passes for 180 yards and two more scores.
Of course, the former Purdue star truly became a household name thanks to a brilliant postseason. After tallying 58 rushing yards in San Francisco’s Divisional Round win against the Minnesota Vikings, Mostert exploded for 220 yards and four touchdowns in a truly electric performance against the Green Bay Packers. In the Super Bowl, he added another TD on 12 carries.
San Francisco’s breakout star requests trade
Though the 49ers suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, Raheem Mostert finished the 2019 season on a high note. With 336 rushing yards and five touchdowns in the playoffs, he clearly established himself as a long-term fixture in San Fran. At least, that’s what we thought.
On Wednesday, Mostert’s agent, Brett Tessler, made it clear via Twitter that his client has no intention of remaining with the 49ers on his current deal. After months of “unproductive talks” with the 49ers, Mostert now wants to be traded.
Considering his current deal pays him less than $3 million per season, it makes sense that the breakout star wants a raise. After all, Coleman carries a $4.55 million base salary in 2020. Mostert, on the other hand, checks in at just north of $2.5 million.
But if the 2019 breakout star wants to avoid ruining his NFL career, he better stay put in San Francisco.
Mostert will ruin his NFL career if the 49ers grant his wish
From a talent perspective, you could easily make the case that Raheem Mostert is the 49er’s best running back. Blessed with track-star speed, he can turn an ordinary run into a touchdown in the blink of an eye. Plus, he has the ability to contribute as a receiver.
But let’s face it: Mostert just turned 28. Running backs don’t age well. And even with little tread on his tires, swapping his 49ers jersey for another team’s colors represents a massive risk for the career journeyman.
Sure, he could make more money elsewhere. A team that trades for Mostert knows he will command a raise. But is it worth leaving Shanahan’s scheme to work with a new offensive coordinator and head coach?
Shanahan has his flaws. He has suffered two devastating Super Bowl losses as the losing team’s play-caller. Still, he easily ranks as one of the best coaches in the game because of his ability to maximize the skill sets of his players.
Everyone knows that both Kyle Shanahan and his famous father have gotten terrific production out of no-name running backs. Just look at what Matt Breida accomplished in his brief time with the 49ers. Is it a coincidence that Mostert suddenly broke out only after getting a legit opportunity to be the RB1 in Shanahan’s system?
Ultimately, Raheem Mostert should stay put. He has never experienced tangible success with any other organization other than the 49ers. If San Francisco grants his wish, he will ruin his career and never live up to the hype he created last season. Somehow, though, it seems likely that he has played his last down as a 49er.
Just don’t be surprised when we never hear from him again.