The San Francisco 49ers beat saw a major shift in the landscape eight years ago when Matt Maiocco left the Press Democrat for NBC Sports Bay Area. The move gave the Niner Faithful even more access the fan-favorite beat writer.

The landscape officially saw another massive shift on Monday. When it comes to 49ers coverage, the two top names in the game are Maiocco and Barrows. Matt Barrows started covering the team for the Sacramento Bee in 2003 and is a big reason why 49ers fans feel so blessed with the coverage that they enjoy. After 10 years with the Sacramento newspaper (he started as a Metro writer in 1999), he is moving on to his next endeavor.

Monday marks the start of Barrows' journey with The Athletic, the ad-free online publication behind a paywall. The move has been known for weeks, but his introductory column was published on Monday.

The fact that reading Barrows' informative and often witty content now requires payment may limit his reach a bit, but it is a big win for The Athletic, which will undoubtedly see a surge in Bay Area subscribers this week.

Barrows has been a friend of the site for years, so we are excited for him and are hopeful for his future. Over the years, he has taken part in 49ers Webzone chats, Q&As, round tables, been a guest multiple times on our podcast, and done much more for the site. We all wish him nothing but the best at The Athletic and look forward to continuing to read his work there.