On Thursday, NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco appeared on KNBR and said, “I doubt it” when referring to San Francisco 49ers left tackle Joe Staley coming back in 2020. Here is Maiocco’s full quote:
“I think it’s highly possible that four of those guys [the 49ers would draft at No. 13 for] are offensive tackles and if one of those guys is there, they could take him. What John Lynch said about Joe Staley was kind of a non-denial denial. ‘We haven’t heard that he’s not coming back.’ Which is a lot different than, ‘We’ve heard he’s coming back.’ So I don’t know that Staley will be back this year. I kind of doubt it. But even if he is back this year, how much longer? It’s only going to be one year, I think we pretty much know that. So I think the time is now to take that offensive tackle.”
Many thought that Staley wouldn’t leave the team in the dark this late if that was the case. We have no idea what Staley has told the organization.
Perhaps the latest news is a hint at what Staley plans to do. Julie Donaldson of NBC Sports’ Washington reported that an NFC team is interested in acquiring left tackle Trent Williams, and that team is believed to be the San Francisco 49ers. Donaldson said no deal has been made at this time. The longer Washington holds onto Williams, the worse his value gets. As of Thursday, league spies said Washington was panicking as they were not getting the offers they wanted. One person close to the situation said, “We haven’t received any offers. We thought we’d get offers from LAC and JAX, but they didn’t offer.” Washington doesn’t believe they can get a Day 2 pick anymore for Williams, which bodes well for San Francisco. Perhaps a fourth-round pick next year and a fifth-rounder this year?
Williams is 31, and won’t be cheap. His cap number 2020, which is the final year of his contract, will be $14.5 million. With that said, Williams is an elite left tackle. He’s been my favorite left tackle in the NFL since he entered the league. Williams has top-tier athleticism, strength, and rarely gets beat in pass protection. If Staley moves on, Williams’s contract becomes more digestible for the 49ers. Also, that would be more incentive to move on from contracts like Marquise Goodwin and Tevin Coleman.
This is a shock and makes for a fascinating discussion. The last thing anyone wants is for Staley to retire. If he has already told the 49ers his plans to retire, it makes sense for San Francisco to look for replacements. To be fair, Williams’ agent has said a lot of things over the past year, and this could be him pushing his agenda to do what’s best for his client, Willams. Still, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. It’d be surprising to see Shanahan do business with Washington, unless Kyle feels like he’s getting over on them.