Late Sunday evening, Pro Football Talk reported that sources said the San Francisco 49ers were open to trading Joe Staley if they could secure a first round pick in return. Chip Kelly met with the media on Monday, and he denied the reports, suggesting there has been no such discussion about the 49ers franchise left tackle.
PFT reported teams interested in Joe Thomas (who Hue Jackson said on Monday would also not be traded) were also interested in Staley. PFT said teams with some degree of interest included the Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, and New England Patriots. About Staley, PFT said, “[A] source with knowledge of the dynamics tells PFT the 49ers are angling for a first-round pick from a contender for Staley, which likely would come late in the round.”
Kelly acknowledged he does not have control over the 53-man roster, but he did say there are regular discussions about the roster where he offers up his opinion. Kelly said Staley as a potential trade piece had not come up in any discussions thus far. He said the rumors were news to him, and described the report as “erroneous.”
My guess is that someone with the 49ers floated Staley’s name to PFT in order to try and get some nibbles. The teams mentioned above are far from the only ones who have a shot at the playoffs, although they are prominent among teams who could use serious help on the offensive line. But with Baalke controlling the 53-man roster, Kelly has plenty of room for plausible deniability about trade rumors.