The San Francisco 49ers are a shade under three months away from the start of 2018 training camp, which means the time has come once again to launch our 90-in-90 roster series. For those new to the site since last offseason, each year we do 90 posts on each member of the 90-man roster. It is not the deep dive we’ll do with some players, but rather is a chance to reintroduce the roster to people.
Some players are are going to be completely off a lot of people’s radars, resulting in plenty of “Who?” comments. On the other hand, plenty will be quite obvious. For the latter, it’s a chance to discuss them and the position as a whole, rather than just figuring out who they are. The idea is to give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. The roster will change plenty both in the next couple weeks, and into training camp. We’re starting with some more notable names because there will be some roster cuts as the team signs UDFAs and rookie tryouts.
Today, we’ll start with one of the players who is not going anywhere this year. Joe Staley is back for his 12th season with the 49ers. For a time, last season was almost his last with the 49ers. He said after the season that there was a period where his enthusiasm for the game was waning and he was considering retirement. He regained it however, and by all accounts is excited for what the coming year can bring. And it helps that the 49ers gave him a base salary raise for the final two years of his contract!
The 49ers are replacing at least three of their five starting offensive linemen from last season. The team traded Trent Brown, and will expect rookie Mike McGlinchey top claim the starting right tackle job. The team extended Daniel Kilgore, but then traded him when they landed Weston Richburg. Brandon Fusco departed which leaves Jonathan Cooper and Joshua Garnett competing with incumbent guard Laken Tomlinson for a starting spot.
All of that is to say that Staley’s leadership will be as critical as ever in 2018.
Age: 33 (34 on August 30)
Experience: 11 accrued seasons
Weight: 315 lbs
Signed through 2019, Staley received raises for each of the final two seasons of his contract. He will receive an additional $3.25 million in base salary each season, bringing his total base salary to $8.05 million each year. He will have cap hits of $10.95 million each of the next two seasons.
Why he might improve in 2018
His own skillset is pretty well locked in. He is a great left tackle, quietly one of the best in the NFL. However, I am curious to see what improvement elsewhere along the line brings. We don’t know who will be lining up next to him at left guard, and that could and probably will impact his own play. That’s not to say Staley will struggle with a bad left guard, but a good left guard could give Staley the opportunity to focus more on his own work, and thus potentially raise his level of play a little bit rather than worrying about the guy next to him.
Why he might regress in 2018
He turns 34 in August. When healthy, Staley has showed no signs of slowing down. That being said, in NFL years, he’s getting old. Injuries will be something to track. He missed one game last year and three the season before five straight seasons playing all 16 games. Additionally, we just don’t know when his skills will start to decline. I am optimistic his skills remain, but when football players get into their 30s, there are no guarantees.
Odds of making the roster
100 percent. Barring him deciding to retire, there is zero chance he is not on the roster when Week 1 rolls around. The bigger question is whether or not he will be on the roster in 2020 after this contract comes to a close. My guess is he retires at that point, but who knows how he (and the 49ers) will feel in 2020.