SANTA CLARA, Calif. - San Francisco 49ers right guard Alex Boone wants to hit free agency. At least that's what he said after his the remaining two years on his contract were re-worked just before the start of the 2014 regular season.
"I think everybody in this locker room would love to hit free agency," Boone said after ending his offseason-long holdout in September. "That’s why these guys play this game is for free agency, to see what the market is, to test the market. That’s one of the things that we came to an agreement on. It wasn’t so much the money as much as we didn’t want to be (franchise) tagged. We just wanted to hit free agency, get paid fairly. The numbers were OK. They were cool."
Boone's name is in the news, once again, because of his absence from the team's voluntary minicamp this week. With last year's holdout fresh in the minds of 49ers fans, his absence from team headquarters garners more attention than players like Anquan Boldin, Aaron Lynch, and Jimmie Ward, among others, who chose not to attend Jim Tomsula's first minicamp as head coach.
"At the end of the day I have to look out for my team, my wife and my kids," Boone said in September. "I have to make sure they’re compensated, they’re taken care of. Sometimes it’s part of the business, you got to go against the grain."
Before his holdout, Boone's was slated to get $3.7 million over the final two years of his deal, which expires after the coming season. After the holdout, his re-negotiation got him $6 million over those same two years with no extension given. A key aspect of the new contract prevents Boone from getting the franchise tag, allowing him to hit free agency next spring.
Boone will not participate in any portion of the club's voluntary workouts this offseason, according to a report from CSN Bay Area. But he will participate in the mandatory sessions - which start with OTAs in June, according to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle.
CSN also reported the 49ers and Boone have yet to discuss a contract extension, and he is not opposed to getting traded and signing a long-term deal with a new team. But at this point, it's hard to see why San Francisco would part with a starting guard who played well as last season progressed, particularly after losing left guard Mike Iupati in free agency.