After 13 legendary NFL seasons, six pro-bowls, three second team all-pro awards, 181 starts, and two Super Bowls San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley has announced his retirement. Despite 49ers general manager John Lynch announcing Monday that he expects Joe Staley to play this upcoming season, the pro-bowl tackle is retiring due to health concerns.
San Francisco 49ers Offensive Tackle Joe Staley Announces Retirement
Joe Staley made his intentions to retire this offseason clear to the team, informing them of his intentions earlier this week. The six-time Pro-Bowler wanted the team to have ample time to acquire his replacement, giving them the best chance to succeed in a season that may be another Super Bowl bid. Injuries derailed Staley’s 2019 campaign, as he appeared in a mere seven games.
Staley made his mark protecting 49ers quarterbacks for 13 years. His excellent play and leadership granted him NFL-wide recognition, respect, and appreciation. Reliability and striking fear into defenders landed Staley on the NFL’s All-Decade team.
While the legendary career of Joe Staley will be celebrated by 49ers fans everywhere, his departure did leave a major hole on the offensive line. To help fill that need, the 49ers traded for disgruntled Washington Redskins tackle Trent Williams. Williams should help them fill the need at the position well and might even be an improvement from the older version of Staley.
The sudden announcement may have come as Staley was rehabbing at the 49ers facility earlier in the year. Due to the current COVID-19 global pandemic, Staley has not been able to rehab with team equipment or staff, which may have influenced his sudden decision. The announcement coming on the last day of the 2020 NFL Draft does raise questions over how much the 49ers team knew earlier in the week, or when Staley even made the decision.
The 49ers will have $10 million additional room in cap space this season with another $1 million in dead money. Trent Williams contract is currently allotted at $12.5 million for the 2020 NFL season, with him set to be an unrestricted free agent for the 2021 year. Reports signal that Williams will restructure this deal and happily report to the 49ers camp.