Future Hall of Famer and current San Francisco 49ers left tackle Joe Staley will miss six to eight weeks with a broken fibula. In his absence, sixth-round pick Justin Skule filled in. The 49ers didn’t draft Skule thinking he would have to start during his rookie season. Here are four options that aren’t on the team, and outside of names we’ve already discussed, like Sam Young, for example.
Too much for Trent?
Trent Williams is a star, and arguably the best left tackle in the game. Williams has made it clear he is not reporting any time soon, despite racking up fines. Williams plays in the same zone scheme as well, so a blockbuster move makes sense, right? If Staley were out six months, then sure. You’re not going to trade for a player who has a 14.6 million cap hit in 2020, not to mention he wants a new deal. You’re essentially choosing Williams over Staley by doing so. That’s before we get into extending DeForest Buckner and George Kittle. Though I’m a big believer in “the salary cap is fake,” financially, the move doesn’t make much sense.
A familiar face
Kyle Shanahan already has brought back former Falcons Levine Toilolo and Mike Person. There is a former tackle that is available who started for the Flacons from 2014-2018. Familiarity with Shanahan, scheme fit, experience, availability. It’s all there. The caveat is Ryan Schrader plays right tackle. Yesterday Kyle Shanahan didn’t like the idea of moving Mike McGlinchey to left tackle. Will he be willing to do so if Schrader gives the team their best chance to succeed? Here are Schrader’s grades by year:
Schrader was injured in 2018, and that saw his play dip. He didn’t reclaim his starting spot after the injury.
A former first-round pick
The Chiefs run a similar zone-based scheme like the 49ers and have a utility offensive lineman in Cameron Erving. The former first-round pick has played everywhere from left tackle to center. He played yesterday when starting left tackle Eric Fisher left with a groin injury. Fisher was injured last Friday at Chiefs’ practice and tried to play through the injury. That may alone makes it tough to deal a swing tackle like Erving.
The more you dig through the names of players, the more the best option may be to move McGlinchey to the left side. Former Jaguars right tackle Jermey Parnell—who allowed one sack as a starter all of 2018—was cut as a cap casualty make in March but is still available. Parnell, 33, is familiar with the zone scheme as well. A former college basketball player that is known for his athleticism. Here are his PFF grades as a starter:
Do any of these names excite you? Should McGlinchey stay at right tackle? There are options, but finding the option that gives you the best chance to win now without comprising too much of your roster makes this a tough decision for the 49ers.