Raheem Mostert takes enormous pride in what he’s accomplished. He believes it’s no fluke.
The 49ers running back -- who came to the team late in 2016 as an undrafted free agent after playing for four NFL teams – had a breakout season for San Francisco in 2019, averaging 5.6 yards per carry while rushing for 772 yards and eight touchdowns.
He now goes into the 2020 season as the team’s No. 1 running back among a corps that also includes Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson Jr.
Recently, after ESPN’s NextGen Stats rated him the league’s No. 1 back on outside runs in 2019, first in effective running against stacked defenses and first in explosive-run percentage, Mostert tweeted: “Stats don’t lie!! Just wait and see!”
His speed, surprising strength and ability as a receiver are a great fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offensive scheme.
The 49ers invested in Mostert before last season, agreeing to a three-year deal with him for as much as $8.7 million. He’s due to earn $2.575 million this season and $2.875 million in 2021 before he can become an unrestricted free agent.
But, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN, Mostert believes he deserves a bump in that pay, based on what he did in 2019, when he stepped up to become the team’s best ball carrier down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs, where he set a record in the NFC Championship Game by rushing for 220 yards and four TDs in a 37-20 victory over Green Bay.
“I’m told 49ers RB Raheem Mostert requested a pay raise earlier this offseason,” Anderson tweeted Thursday. “While … (the) deal he got last season includes rushing incentives in each year of the team’s contract, my understanding is Mostert still wants a more meaningful acknowledgement of his elevated production.”
It will be interesting to see how 49ers general manager John Lynch proceeds. Lynch and Shanahan love Mostert, a hard-working, explosive and admired member of the team. Running behind a fine offensive line, Mostert has put up big numbers in limited opportunities.
But, Mostert just turned 28 in April. NFL running backs often lose their effectiveness after age 30 because of wear and tear – although Mostert has only 178 career carries (fewer by far than any of the season totals former 49ers great Frank Gore had in the nine seasons after his rookie year).
Chances are, Lynch and Shanahan – who reportedly already have discussed a contract extension with Mostert – will act to keep Mostert satisfied.
The Niners have a tight salary-cap situation, but Mostert has shown he can be a dynamic force.