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Kyle Shanahan: It would take a lot to trade Joe Staley

The Eagles, the 49ers’ opponent this Sunday, just lost stalwart left tackle Jason Peters to a season-ending knee injury. It means the Super Bowl-hunting 6-1 Eagles may be on the prowl for a tackle to protect the left side of emerging quarterback Carson Wentz.

So, conceivably, the 49ers leave their left tackle in Philly after they play the Eagles on Sunday. However, one person doesn’t want that happen.

“Joe (Staley) is a guy that I definitely want here and definitely a guy I wouldn’t want to lose by any means,” said 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who has more influence on personnel matters than most might think.
Staley has played solidly throughout the season, however, he’s 33 and he’s had a little bit of a trick knee over the past year or two. It would all depend on how much the Eagles or any team would be willing to offer for Staley.

“If anybody called for any one of our players, it’s not like you just hang up the phone,” Shanahan said. “If people want to offer the world, you’ve always got to listen. You’ve got to always try to think what’s going to help your team and make your team better. To lose a guy like Joe Staley, that wouldn’t be something I’d be excited about so that’d have to take a whole lot.”

So what are we talking about? A second-round pick? A third-rounder? If its the Eagles and they go far in the playoffs, a second-round pick will likely be at the bottom of the round. Is that worth it? Also, the 49ers might be quarterback shopping next year. Would Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, or Kansas City’s Alex Smith want to come here without an established left tackle?

Then there’s the question of who would replace Staley. Trent Brown would be the logical candidate. But by installing him at left tackle for the rest of the season, his value would likely increase, making him hard to re-sign once the off-season begins. One more argument for keeping Staley – the team is trying to develop C.J. Beathard and the more protection he gets, the more likely he will excel.

The 49ers have also jettisoned more than their share of veterans. They need Staley not only for leadership, but also as an example to younger players of what happens to veteran 49ers who do things right. The organization should prove they have the capacity to keep players.

And even though the team is winless, they have a decent defense, and NFL-worthy receiving corps. They could be about $80 million under the salary cap and have another draft class to lay on top of a good crop of young players.

If they can attract or draft a quarterback, or if Beathard develops, the team could be greatly improved next year, meaning they should keep a Pro Bowl-calibur left tackle.

And thus, keeping Staley is the right call.


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