Every offseason, one position or another seems to have a contract signed that resets the market. Quarterback is a regular one, but this offseason, Todd Gurley seemed to give running backs a bit of a boost. On Friday, offensive tackle joined in the fun.
Friday morning, word got out that the Tennessee Titans agreed to terms with left tackle Taylor Lewan on a five-year, $80 million contract extension. Lewan’s deal includes $50 million in guarantees (no word on full guarantees). Shortly after that, the Atlanta Falcons announced they had agreed to terms on a five-year extension with their own left tackle, Jake Matthews. Reports have his deal worth $75 million.
The two tackles will move to the top of the salary leaderboard. Nate set the market earlier this offseason when he signed a deal with the New York Giants worth $15.5 million per year. Lewan will leap-frog him, while Matthews will slot in right behind him. Russell Okung, Trent Williams, and Terron Armstead slot in next, each in the $13 million range.
Following the Lewan and Matthews extensions, I took a look at the left tackle salary rankings over at Over The Cap. They do not reflect the two extensions, but once they do, San Francisco 49ers left tackle Joe Staley will rank No. 19 at his position.
Staley has two years left on his contract, and earlier this offseason, the 49ers gave him a raise on each of the two years. He received an extra $3.25 million in base salary each season. In 2014, Staley signed a six-year contract worth $44,650,000. He has always swung what seemed like relatively team-friendly deals during his career. He’s making good money, but for a guy who is among the best in the NFL at what he does, he’s never been paid quite like that. He is a six-time Pro Bowler and three-time second team All Pro, but it feels like he still flies under the radar.
We hear a lot about the value of having a quarterback on a rookie deal, but the 49ers are in a good position when it comes to their tackles. Staley is making good money, but probably not as much as he could have gotten if he wanted to push the issue. They were potentially going to have to pay Trent Brown after this season, but instead they traded him and drafted Mike McGlinchey in the 2018 NFL Draft. McGlinchey is locked into a rookie contract for the next four years, and while his fifth year option salary will be a big increase, it still will be relatively reasonable, particularly if he has moved to left tackle by then.