The San Francisco 49ers just inked a significant addition to their offensive backfield.
The team on Wednesday, July 21 officially signed rookie running back Trey Sermon, locking in a player who is primed to start the season as RB2 and could very well prove to be the eventual usurper of Raheem Mostert for the top spot at the position.
Mostert took to Twitter in the wake of the news where he reacted to the deal, which is reported to be worth $4.9 million over four seasons.
“Yessir my boy locked in!!” tweeted Mostert, tagging Sermon in the post. “Let’s ride out!”
Is Mostert Really Happy About Niners Drafting, Signing of Sermon?
Mostert has been welcoming of Sermon since the Niners selected him with the No. 88 pick in the third round of this year’s NFL draft.
“Welcome to the RB room (Trey Sermon)!” Mostert wrote online on April 30, the day Sermon was drafted. “We’re packed to the ceiling.”
Mostert’s tone was affable enough in regards to the rookie, with whom he will compete for reps as part of the first offensive unit.
But established NFL starters who consider themselves still in their primes do not historically take kindly to teams drafting rookies at the same position, particularly not when the teams move up in the draft to pick them. (See: Aaron Rodgers and the fallout with the Green Bay Packers after the team drafted Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with its first-round pick in 2020.)
Mostert just turned 29 years old but has played only six seasons in the NFL, appearing in 58 games during that time. He definitely believes he’s got plenty left in the tank, and the 49ers drafting a running back so high had to have put Mostert’s head on an immediate swivel.
How Does Sermon Compare to Mostert, Other Niners RBs?
Mostert will begin training camp as the top option for the 49ers in the backfield. He is also the likely choice to start in Week 1 unless there are injuries, shake-ups in the preseason or Sermon simply shows up talented and prepared enough from day one to swipe the job.
Sermon, who played his first three collegiate seasons with Oklahoma, racked up 2,076 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns as a Sooner. He also made 36 catches for 391 total receiving yards over that span.
During his one year as an Ohio State Buckeye, amid the COVID-abbreviated 2020 season, Sermon rushed for 870 yards on 116 carries (7.5 yards per carry) for four touchdowns on the way to a Big 10 Title and a National Championship Game appearance.
Jeff Wilson Jr. was slated as the likely No. 2 running back on the Niners depth chart until a freak knee injury, which occurred as he stood up from a chair in the locker room, sidelined the team’s leading rusher from one year ago. Wilson Jr. is expected to miss upwards of half of the regular season.
The Niners also signed Wayne Gallman Jr. to a one-year deal following the best campaign of his career during his fourth and final season with the New York Giants. However, it has been Sermon who has seen the most practice snaps as RB1 so far during this young offseason, as several rushers have been nursing minor injuries, including Mostert. Sermon has reportedly been impressing the Niners coaching staff throughout the process.
Mostert should, and likely does, feel secure in his role as the Niners starting running back to begin the season. That said, injuries kept him out of eight games in 2020.
With the team’s newly acquired depth at the position, specifically Sermon, if Mostert misses half of the season again, he may return to find his role as starter being permanently played by a rookie initially drafted to serve as his understudy.