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NFL trade rumors: 49ers looking for first round pick for Joe Staley

It’s a long way between rumor and action, but this one is out there.

The NFL trade deadline is eight days away (November 1, 2016), and as the the San Francisco 49ers continue to lose, they might decide now is the time to completely blow this thing up. Pro Football Talk is reporting the 49ers are open to trading All Pro left tackle Joe Staley, and are looking for a first round pick in return.

Of course, it’s always nice to have wants. There are rumors the Cleveland Browns are also shopping their own Joe, left tackle Joe Thomas. Rumors surrounding Thomas suggest the Browns would accept a second round pick. PFT is reporting similar teams are inquiring with both the Browns and 49ers, including the Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, and New England Patriots. Those are all obvious teams with a left tackle need, so it could just be someone feeding Florio a line. The Vikings are the only one of that group without a 2017 first round pick (Sam Bradford trade).

If the 49ers were to deal Staley, they would need to account for $7,837,500 in dead money. I believe $1,237,500 would hit this year, and the remaining $6.6 million would hit next year, but it is possible it all rolls up this year. I forget how post June 1 trades operate in that regard. His base salary jumps to $8.25 million next season, but drops to $4.8 million in 2018 and 2019.

Staley, a first round pick in the 2007 draft out of Central Michigan, has been to five Pro Bowls and has been a second team All-Pro three times. He is the longest tenured 49er and one of only three tackles on the current roster, the other two being Trent Brown and rookie John Theus, who has yet to play any snaps in the regular season.

It is very unlikely that any team would give up a first rounder for a 32 year old tackle, regardless of his health record or talent level. If the 49ers front office is truly interested in trading Staley, it’s the closest thing to an admission of giving up on the season. I believe the players and coaches, although frustrated and not always on the same page, want to win.

Trading Staley could change that, it in fact could change the balance of the team. It’s even possible that the rumors alone could alter the chemistry in the locker room that has been described as a close knit group. It could also bring them closer together, bonded in united distrust of the organization’s desire to win, at least in 2016. Only time will tell.