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Alex Boone trade rumors

May 23, 2012; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Alex Boone (75) answers questions for the media at the 49ers practice facility.  Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the first team to be connected in some way with the 49ers and Alex Boone.

The San Francisco 49ers might soon have their first serious suitor for right guard Alex Boone. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting there is a real interest from the Bucs for Boone. He made sure to make it clear that there have been no real discussions, but one could infer at least some kind of preliminary interest has been noted.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports, via a person informed of the Bucs thinking, there is real interest in a Boone trade at the right price.

Another Buccaneers source tells Rapoport there have been no “real” conversations with the 49ers yet, but the front office touches base with all teams to discuss who might be available.

The conundrum for the Bucs is they are building a young roster and don’t want to give away draft picks. Boone won’t come cheaply in terms of dollars for a new contract as well as draft-pick compensation from the 49ers.

This follows an earlier report from Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole that the Bucs were interested. He also said, “he’s heard” the Giants are also a team that would be interested in doing a deal for Boone. On it own I’m sometimes skeptical about Cole’s reporting, but with the Rapoport report as well, that certainly tells us a little something.

The Bucs make all the sense in the world, given their offensive line issues. Back in late July, James wrote about their need of a guard in light of Carl Nicks‘ retirement. As soon as Boone did not show up for training camp, the Bucs had to be considered one of the front-runners.

The question now would be what the right price is for Boone. Nick Bradley talked about it in a FanPost, suggesting he’d prefer a conditional 2nd/3rd, similar in nature to the Alex Smith trade (albeit, only one pick, not two). I don’t see it going that high, but that’s just more speculation and assumptions on my part. We don’t really know how other teams are valuing Boone, in light of both the draft pick needed to acquire him, and the new contract needed to get him into camp.

Of course, there are teams out there with the cap space and the draft picks to potentially do a deal, so the more that get in on this, potentially the better for the 49ers. It becomes a question of leverage. If the 49ers are willing to see Boone sit out until late in the season, they can hold out for more in a trade. At the same time, even if they are willing to sit this one out, they’ll just be back in the same position next summer. That would seemingly remove a little bit of leverage. At this point, it’s quite the game of chicken.

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