We were all sad to hear that San Francisco 49ers’ legend Joe Staley was retiring. The left tackle spent 13 seasons with the organization, making it to six Pro Bowls and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team.
The prospect of finding a player of similar capabilities to fill the void left by Staley seemed daunting, especially considering the importance of the position.
What we didn’t know at the time of Staley’s announcement was that general manager John Lynch was already working on finding his replacement.
At the NFL Draft, news broke that the 49ers were trading a 2020 fifth-round pick and 2021 third-round pick to Washington in exchange for Trent Williams.
Former Niners GM Scot McCloughan was asked by the SF Chronicle’s Eric Branch about the trade, and he believes Williams is better than Staley:
“Joe Staley is a really good tackle — don’t get me wrong. But he ain’t Trent Williams. He hasn’t been Trent Williams. And won’t be Trent Williams when Trent’s career is over and you compare them ... Staley fit that offense to a T, but they’re different players. Trent is so talented that he can play in any system. You want to play power football? He’s going to play power football, and he’s going to wear your ass down. You want to be play finesse football and dance out in space? He’ll do that with you all day. That’s why he’s so unique.”
McCloughan has experience with both players. He was with the 49ers from 2005 through the 2009 season when he worked as vice president of player personnel and then general manager, and was responsible for drafting Staley in 2007. McCloughan is also familiar with Williams from his stint as GM of Washington, where he worked for two seasons.
Williams is four years younger than Staley and is a seven-time Pro Bowler himself. Rust might be an issue after he sat out last season due to issues with Washington’s medical staff and management.
The 31-year-old will be a free agent after the season and the Niners will have to make him one of the highest paid lineman in the league if they want to keep him beyond 2020.
I was thrilled to hear Lynch had made the deal, which lessened the sting of knowing Staley won’t be around any longer, especially with the Niners being a Super Bowl contender.
Staley will always be beloved by 49ers fans, but the consensus seems to be that Williams is the better player.
Do you agree with McCloughan that Williams is an upgrade over Staley?
Onto some more links:
We all love Frank Gore. Former NFL great Marshall Faulk joined 95.7 The Game and said Gore definitely belongs in the Hall of Fame whenever he calls it a career. (h/t Jessica Kleinschmidt NBC Bay Area)
The Reuben Foster experiment didn’t last long. The SF Chronicle’s Eric Branch wrote about covering Foster’s arrest and his tumultuous time with the Niners.
The 49ers secondary could look a whole lot different going into the 2021 season. SI’s Nicholas Cothrel goes into detail on if the Niners have done enough to address the position.
Some NFL teams are set to open up their practice facilities this week, but the 49ers will not be one of them. (49ers Web Zone)
NFL players have had to get creative keeping up with their workouts during the pandemic. Tight end George Kittle is using his home gym to gear up for a Super Bowl run. (NBC Bay Area)