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John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports


49ers Top 20 for ‘20: #9 Joe Staley

Gilbert Brink
Mar 5, 2020 at 7:16 AM


Joe Staley is the 49ers. San Francisco needed a left tackle in 2007 to protect the blind side of its recently drafted franchise QB and it turned to Staley with the 28th pick in the 1st round. 14 years later Staley still holds court on the left side of the line every Sunday for the San Francisco 49ers.

During his 14-year career, Staley has been part of some of the best and some of the worst teams in 49ers history. He has played for 2 Super Bowl teams, he also has suffered a 2-14 season. In the beginning of the Shanahan-Lynch era, Staley was pondering retirement. Head coach Kyle Shanahan was able to persuade Staley to look for the light at the end of the tunnel, coaxing him to stay and help the 49ers acquire their 6th Lombardi trophy.

Staley stayed, and on February 2nd 2020, the 49ers held a 10-point lead in the 4th quarter of Super Bowl 54. What seemed to be a crowning moment for a deserving veteran crumbled into another war story about what could have been. There has been speculation surrounding Staley retiring in 2020, but he has stated he plans to play out the new deal he signed in 2019 that made him a 49er through 2021. "Get one for Joe" should be plastered on the locker room walls until that contract expires.

2019 Performance


Injuries plagued Staley in 2019, causing him to miss 9 games. During the 7 games Staley did play he let up 2 sacks and was responsible for two penalties. Pro Football Focus graded Staley at a 72.7, the highest of any 49ers lineman in 2019. Despite his grade leading the 2019 49ers, it was Staley's worst grade since his 2010 season. Players who PFF graded at a similar level included Tennessee LT Taylor Lewan (73.4), Seattle LT Duane Brown (74.1) and Minnesota LT Riley Reiff (71.2).

2020 Cost


Staley carries a $11 million cap hit in 2020. If the 49ers part ways with Staley prior to 6/1/20, they would save $10 million in cap space.

Future Outlook


You don't remove the heart of your team coming off a Super Bowl loss. Not only is Joe Staley the best lineman the 49ers have, he is essential to the chemistry that made the 2019 49ers such a special team. If Staley wants to continue to play, the 49ers would be best served to keep that LT spot open for him. The next two years should consist of Joe playing out his contract and mentoring the younger lineman (particularly Justin Skule & Daniel Brunskill) in hopes one can replace him when his contact ends. If Staley's performance takes a steep dive, the 49ers will have to have a difficult conversation with the 49ers legend, whether it be retiring or restructuring for a more team friendly deal.



Next: No. 8 - Fred Warner
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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