- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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The 49ers start training camp practices next week. Boone is not expected to report without a new contract.
Unlike fellow minicamp holdout, star tight end Vernon Davis, Boone appears bent on staying away until he gets a new deal. Davis recently said it wouldn't be the “end of the world” if his holdout doesn't result in a new deal. Both Boone and Davis have two more seasons remaining on their contracts.
How did we get to this point with Boone?
Really, this has been developing ever since the 49ers signed the guard as an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State in 2009. From that point on, he was working his way up financially.
In 2011, the 49ers gave Boone a five-year $8.04 million deal when he was a backup tackle. On one hand, it was a nice deal for a former undrafted player who overcame off-field issues. In reality, Boone signed a deal for a backup player.
In the past two seasons, Boone has developed into a top guard in the NFL. He is a leader of the 49ers and, at 26, his best football is ahead of him. Thus, he has far outplayed a deal that was designed for a backup.
Yes, he's under contract, but he hasn't signed a sweetheart deal yet. Davis, 30, has gotten a big pay day. He is the third highest-paid tight end in the NFL. Boone is the 43rd highest guard in the NFL. It would be difficult to find a scout who doesn't think Boone is a top-10 guard.
At this point, I bet Boone would take top-15 guard money. Yes, the 49ers have other looming contracts (receiver Michael Crabtree and guard Mike Iupati are entering the final seasons of their deals and the team is considering giving tackle Joe Staley a new deal), and no, they don't believe in tearing up existing deals.
But the truth is, Boone is working on a deal signed when the team had entirely different expectations of him as a player. That's why there is an impasse a week away from the start of a season in which Boone is supposed to be entering his prime as a top-notch guard.