Anyone else remember when Joe Staley was considering retirement? The San Francisco 49ers left tackle has made the back end of Pro Football Focus’ top-101 players. PFF released spots 101-76, so we’ll be sure to keep an eye on who else from the 49ers gets on the list as the week goes on.
Here’s what PFF had to say about Staley:
Staley’s consistency remained intact in 2018 by finishing in the top-10 in overall grade among offensive tackles at 82.2. The twelfth-year veteran allowed just 25 total pressures in 609 pass-block snaps this season with only four resulting in a sack.
Staley is under contract through 2019, but then things get interesting. He’s contemplated retirement in the past, only to get talked out of it by Kyle Shanahan. When his contract comes up, the 49ers will have retirement to compete with as well as the rest of the NFL who may want to pay him for some solid veteran service.
The 2019 NFL Draft is a crucial moment to where the 49ers need to look at possible replacements for Staley, a swing tackle could be a good idea to man the guard spot as well. Mike McGlinchey could be moved to left tackle, but that will still leave an opening on the right side. The last thing anyone would want is a rookie manning left tackle (or right for that matter—the team got lucky with a rookie McGlinchey performing well at that spot), and getting someone with some development is crucial.
Any way you look at it, Staley will be 35 when the Week 1 of the 2019 season rolls around. Getting someone to learn under him would be the ideal way to end his tenure so he can ride off into the sunset while McGlinchey and someone else take the reigns. The clock is ticking, because the 49ers aren’t going to get this type of production from him forever.