Will 49ers re-work Joe Staley's contract?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

One reporter has heard the San Francisco 49ers might re-do Joe Staley's contract. We break down the details.

Friday afternoon, Yahoo! Sports reporter Rand Getlin tweeted out some interesting information that I have only recently come across. Getlin reported that the 49ers are considering re-doing Joe Staley's current contract. Staley is signed through 2017, having signed a 6-year extension back in 2009.

Here's how the remaining four years of Staley's contract appear to break down:

2014
Base Salary: $2,700,000
Roster Bonus: $500,000
Workout Bonus: $200,000
Cap figure: $3,400,000

2015
Base Salary: $4,500,000
Roster Bonus: $500,000
Workout Bonus: $200,000
Cap figure: $5,200,000

2016
Base Salary: $5,400,000
Roster Bonus: $500,000
Workout Bonus: $200,000
Cap figure: $6,100,000

2017
Base Salary: $6,250,000
Roster Bonus: $500,000
Workout Bonus: $200,000
Cap figure: $6,950,000

If you're going just on "average per year", Over The Cap ranks Staley 13th among left tackles. He's even further down in guarantees. A lot of these deals have been signed since Staley signed, so the market has shifted accordingly. It's interesting because he signed the last year there was a salary cap before the new collective bargaining agreement. In 2010 there was no cap, and then in 2011 the NFL switched to the current system. The cap decreased and was "relatively low" those first few years, but is moving strongly upward.

In Getlin's tweets, I do like the way he describes what he has word: "[T]he team recognizes they'd be wise to guard against him becoming disenchanted." The 49ers have benefited by rewarding their young talent with long contracts, in part because they have often done some fairly cap friendly deals. At the same time, in getting deals done early, they have always run the "risk" that players would outplay those deals. Of course, "risk" might not be the best word because I'm sure the 49ers would love to see all of their players outperform their contracts.

There is no doubt that Staley is among the best offensive linemen in the NFL. Pro Football Focus ranked him 5th last season among all tackles. And even if you're not a fan of their grading, watching him week in and week out, you can see just how good he is. He faces some of the best pass rushers in the league, and he does his business. And even when he is not 100 percent, he is still doing great work. The last most significant struggle might have been the Packers game a couple seasons back when he had his busted nose and was struggling to breath with the blood. Clay Matthews had a solid day, but Staley wasn't exactly chop liver.

The 49ers have a lot of contracts coming due, but it makes sense for them to consider their options with Staley. They could potentially just say, you signed it, you live with it, but that is not exactly the best business model. I don't think Staley would create huge problems because of it, but why would you want to even put yourself in that situation? The team can't pay everybody, so they will have to make some hard choices. While it'd be nice to just ride out Staley's contract, I think one of those hard choices is again rewarding one of their own. I think it's worth doing to keep players happy, but we'll see how the 49ers handle it.

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