SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Alex Boone's training camp holdout is five days old and it’s not getting any younger.
Don’t expect this saga to end unless he and the San Francisco 49ers quickly agree on a new deal. While things can always turn quickly, there have been no signs anything is on the horizon. The two sides are far apart.
And we know Boone is serious.
Boone shared the holdout spotlight with tight end Vernon Davis in the offseason and into the mandatory minicamp. However, with the threat of a $30,000 daily training camp fine looming, Davis decided to report to training camp in time. Davis still wants a new deal but he is playing nice.
The 49ers wanted Boone to do the same. He is not because he doesn’t think the 49ers are playing nice, either. There’s the standoff.
Boone is 27 and is a solid guard. But he is playing on a deal he signed in 2012. He is the 43rd highest paid guard in the NFL. He is making backup money. He’d like to get paid top-15 guard money.
The 49ers aren’t in the business of tearing up deals. Plus, they don’t want to reward a player while he is holding out if possible.
These two sides are far apart and it may take time to get them closer. There are calculated risks for both sides.
The 49ers are giving several players beginning with Joe Looney the chance to play at Boone’s right guard spot. If Looney, who played well in a limited role last year, the 49ers may gain confidence in him and feel less inclined to pay Boone.
If Looney and others fail to take the next step or if the 49ers suffer another injury on the offensive line, Boone gains some leverage.
It’s all going to take time to play out. The longer it goes, the more tenuous it will get. If we get to September and Boone is still staying away, expect to hear trade chatter. The 49ers do not currently want to trade Boone. They’d rather try to win a Super Bowl with an established, skilled starter than compile a mid-round pick.
But we could get to that point.