Word broke yesterday that the San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert had requested a trade from the defending NFC champs. His agent cited that “months of unproductive talks” pertaining to restructuring his contract was the cause of such action.
After months of unproductive talks with the 49ers about fairly adjusting Raheem Mostert's contract (which paid him for special teams) we have requested a trade. Disappointing that it would come to this for a guy who led all NFL RBs in YPC & helped lead them to the Super Bowl.
— Brett Tessler (@TesslerSports) July 8, 2020
Mostert’s contact which was originally signed for him to be used predominantly on special teams has two years and $5.450 million left. However, Mostert broke out in 2019 leading all NFL running backs in yards per carry (5.6) while producing 772 rushing yards while splitting time in the backfield with the rest of the running back committee. The possibly soon to be 49er running back simply wanted to be paid for his work as a running back and not a special teams player.
Enter the Los Angeles Chargers who have a talented running back in Austin Ekeler who should see the bulk of the carries this upcoming season. However, behind him, the Chargers don’t have much to work with. Justin Jackson would be the next man up and while he has been effective in limited action as his 5.5 yards per touch would indicate, he has already missed 12 games due to injuries in his short NFL career and has only handled a double-digit workload once.
Jackson figures to be competing with 2020 fourth-rounder Joshua Kelley. Kelley was taken out of UCLA so you already know he’s going to be working hard to showcase his talent for his hometown. At UCLA, Kelley produced back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons and has excelled at goal-line situations which may be intriguing for the Chargers who could insert him in those kinds of situations with Melvin Gordon no longer available. Kelley is an intriguing talent to watch for the future but he’ll be a rookie coming into the season and while that certainly shouldn’t hold the Chargers back if he’s ready, the limitation of minicamps and a shortened preseason may work against him.
If LA doesn’t fully trust Jackson and doesn’t feel comfortable unleashing Kelley just yet, Mostert would be an interesting trade candidate for the Chargers to acquire. He’s already proven that he can produce in big situations and if you pair him with the likes of Ekeler, that would make for a dynamic duo in the backfield. That duo would also ease the pressure off of Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert when he’s deemed ready. San Francisco doesn’t have to trade Mostert, but if they do, the Chargers shouldn’t think too hard to act.