The San Francisco 49ers are mulling a new contract for left tackle Joe Staley, head coach Kyle Shanahan said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. Staley is still one of the better tackles in the league, but he is set to be around the 17th-20th mark in pay for tackles next season.
“It’s something that we are considering,” Shanahan said, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “We’ve got to see how this all plays out. I wish we could overpay everybody. I mean, these guys deserve it in my opinion. What they go through, what they put their bodies through, the pressure that they’re under.
“But you also have to do what’s right for the organization. You want to do what’s right for all of your players.”
Staley, 33, contemplated retirement before a long conversation with Shanahan last season, and I imagine a lot of people will use that as fuel for not giving him a new deal. But he’s set to make a base salary of $4.8 million in each of the next two seasons, and he’s worth a lot more than that.
I don’t think a five-year deal is in the works or anything, but front load him some guarantees for 2018 and give him a nice base salary for 2019 if he wants to keep playing, as far as I’m concerned. Staley is the longest-tenured 49ers player on the roster, and is one of the definitive leaders in the locker room.
Many believe Trent Brown could take over the left tackle spot when Staley goes, but there’s no guarantee Brown will remain around. Both John Lynch and Shanahan were very positive publicly about Brown at the combine, but the lack of communication surrounding his shoulder injury last season, and consistent questions about his work ethic (showing up to offseason workouts out of shape) mean there’s no guarantee he’ll be around.
“I think there’s more pressing things right now,” Lynch said about a possible extension for Brown. “That’s not to say that that couldn’t happen in the future, but right now there’s some other things that are more pressing. We still have Trent for another year under contract. We’re pleased to have him.”
And Shanahan was effusive in his praise for Brown.
“He’s the best pass protection tackle I’ve ever seen in my life,” Shanahan said. He added that Brown has to prove his consistency. It sounds to me like the 49ers would like to keep Brown, who played at a very high level, but they don’t want to do it until they get into the 2018 season.
Staley, on the other hand, is deserving of a pay raise sooner rather than later. I imagine the 49ers will get something done — maybe Jimmy Garoppolo can spare a few bucks if the 49ers somehow run against cap issues? (They won’t, that’s a joke, please don’t yell at me.)