SANTA CLARA, Calif .– The day after Trey Lance became the NFL’s third overall pick in 2021, he arrived at the San Francisco 49ers facility for his first face-to-face meeting with coach Kyle Shanahan.

Shanahan had about 15 minutes to chat with Lance and his family, who were about to begin the process of finding accommodation for him. Considering the importance of the quarterback-coach relationship, a discussion of the X’s and O’s or other football-related topics would have been an understandable topic of conversation.

Instead, Shanahan offered a warning.

“We were hanging out and they were going looking for houses and things like that. I said, ‘Don’t be too depressed. Everyone is very upset after the first few days and you realize that you have to change what you were looking for, ”said Shanahan of Bay Area housing prices. “And they say, ‘No, everyone told us that.’ I’m like ‘No, everyone told me, you’ll see, it’s real.’ “

For all NFL rookies, there is a necessary adjustment that goes beyond football. There is an element off the pitch that goes with going alone for the first time as an adult.

For 49ers rookies, there’s even more to consider as they arrive in one of the NFL’s most unique – and expensive – markets.

While San Francisco has long been ranked among the most expensive places to live in the United States, few 49ers remain in the city. The team’s headquarters in Santa Clara are about 45 miles out of town, and even without traffic (good luck) it would be about 50 minutes of commuting each way. Alas, it doesn’t get much cheaper closer to Levi’s Stadium.

According to Monica Thomas, a Compass Realty agent who works closely with the 49ers, the average selling price of a single-family home in Santa Clara County is $ 1.96 million, which makes it possible to buy a house of approximately 1,800 square feet. Renting a two-bedroom apartment measuring 900 to 1,200 square feet costs on average between $ 2,500 and $ 4,000 per month, depending on amenities and location.

Thomas often advises players to familiarize themselves with their surroundings and what they are looking for before making a decision.

“There is definitely a period of time where it takes a day or two to hit the pavement and see different variations of what’s out there before what I see is that guys feel really comfortable and s ‘adapt and get used to the shock of the stickers of what you can get,’ Thomas said.

For comparison, the average price for a single-family home in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the NFL’s smallest market, is $ 230,000, which would buy a 1,909-square-foot home. A two-bedroom apartment of 900 to 1,000 square feet rents for between $ 800 and $ 1,200 per month (although those near Lambeau Field can go up to $ 3,000), according to Tiffany Holtz, a Coldwell Banker agent. based there.

In Lance’s hometown of Marshall, Minnesota, the average selling price for a single-family home is $ 198,685, with an average size of around 2,100 square feet (including finished underground space). A two-bedroom apartment costs an average of $ 700 per month for about 600 to 800 square feet, according to Jana Reilly of Keller Williams Realty in Marshall.

Given those numbers, it’s easy to see why rookies like third-round cornerback Ambry Thomas gasp at the mere mention of the cost of living in the Bay Area.

“Once I got the phone call [I was drafted] I was happy, excited, and then I thought of everything and I thought “California, taxes, taxes” and I started to think about all of that and the cost of living, ”said Thomas, who has grew up in Detroit before playing in michigan. “I’m like, ‘hey, this is kinda expensive, very expensive.’ But I’m just grateful for the opportunity, honestly. Skip the cost of living and stuff right now. I feel like my game will take care of my pockets. “

To that end, the 49ers make sure their players take care of their pockets before their game gets into the conversation.

Much of that responsibility falls on Austin Moss II, the 49ers’ director of player engagement. It is his job to “engage, educate and empower” players to “reach their full potential both on and off the pitch.” Much of this job is helping players get in and out of the NFL.

This work begins during the draft process when Moss learns which players are targeted so he can start putting plans in place to help them adjust. Shortly after the players draft, Moss shows up and lets them know that he is the go-to person for any help needed during the transition to the league.

When the recruits arrive in Santa Clara, the real work begins. Moss, along with Player Engagement Coordinator Shelby Soltau, offers a structured program that essentially amounts to a rookie school.

The group meets one hour a day Monday through Thursday for approximately four weeks.

The first week covers how to be a pro, with discussions about culture, expectations, setting up a routine, and maximizing available resources. Week 2 focuses on finances, with lessons on budgeting, building credits, and spending. Week 3 is called roadblocks, with discussions on stress management, decision making, relationships, life skills and leadership. The final week covers success beyond gaming: helping the community, building a platform, and preparing for what will come after football.

There are even talks about learning opportunities at notable Silicon Valley companies such as Apple, Tesla, and Google that allow gamers to tour, meet executives, and pursue internships and internships outside. season.

Lots of guest appearances from other players on how to deal with things like accommodation are mixed into these conversations. Close end George Kittle, a former fifth-round pick who lived with his wife and two teammates in an apartment during his rookie season, is always ready to share his experience.

“The really great thing about playing soccer in Santa Clara is that soccer is the # 1 priority all the time,” Kittle said. “You have to do everything you can to find something to do or find a way to get in trouble. I think it’s a great place to be able to play football and focus on it every day. So for the rookies, you’ve been trying your whole life to get to that level. Just because you’ve got a few dollars in your pocket, there’s no reason to change what you’ve been doing.

Rentals and roommates are common for most Niners recruits. In fact, for any rookie caught below the second round, Moss recommends not buying a house until you’ve proven yourself in the field.

The 49ers foot the bill for accommodation during training camp, and when the roster and training squad are set, players have options including corporate housing, hotels and apartments. Beyond roommates, they are offered multiple avenues that can help save money. One method is to sign a shorter term lease.

While most buildings charge a premium for shorter or monthly leases, the Niners have connections that can help make such deals a bit easier. It may cost more upfront, but that money can be saved by moving and training in more profitable locations during the offseason.

Most young players tend to opt for condos or townhouses near the team training center, which helps them be on time for team activities, but offers the The added benefit of easy access to meals and weights provided by the team.

That doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Monica Thomas took a player to 20 rental properties in three days. Most players will look at five or six seats and find themselves forced to adjust their criteria as some things are not necessarily attainable in their price range.

“It’s important for them to settle down, to get familiar with the areas, and there are so many little pockets in Santa Clara County that we might recommend a first year rental to get familiar with the area for a while. a year before they start buying a home, unless they really want to, “Thomas said.” But we just want to make sure, especially in their age group, that they fully understand what they are getting into, because every investment is important. “

In 2021, the minimum base recruit salary of $ 660,000 is still a high number for the average citizen. But California’s state income tax rate of 13.3% remains the highest in the country. While players are only paid regular season game checks based on where those games are played, the Niners are certain to have at least nine checks paid at the California rate each season.

So while Lance will soon sign a fully guaranteed, four-year, $ 34.1 million contract with a signing bonus of $ 22.1 million, he will ultimately win something closer to $ 18.7 million, according to Spotrac. That’s more than enough for a big, comfortable house, but it helps explain why Lance is turning to renting for at least his first season and why he was grateful for his coach’s warning.

“I knew it would be a little crazy, but it definitely helped give myself a little bit of warning,” Lance said.

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