Several key players on the San Francisco 49ers roster are set to become free agents in the next couple years. Offensive guard Mike Iupati is already working to avoid hitting the market, as he and the Niners are in preliminary contract talks, according to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area.
There isn't an impending deal in place, but the initial progress is a positive sign. San Francisco signed right tackle Anthony Davis to a five-year extension worth $37.295 million total earlier this month. Now Iupati is the next important piece from the offensive line to be retained.
Colin Kaepernick, Michael Crabtree and Aldon Smith will all need new contracts after 2014. The 49ers will have to be careful with cap space, considering all of these players should earn considerable pay raises.
Iupati was a first-round pick in 2010. He was named an All Pro in 2012 as he helped the 49ers reach Super Bowl XLVII. Pro Football Focus rated him as the No. 5 best offensive guard, second only to Evan Mathis among left guards.
Andy Levitre signed a six-year, $46.8 million contract with the Titans last month. Iupati would likely warrant a more lucrative salary. Carl Nicks is the highest-paid guard in the league, averaging $9.5 million per year. The 49ers will be looking at paying Iupati over $8 million in average salary.