With a 1-6 record through seven games, it’s safe to say the 49ers aren’t going anywhere in 2016, so they might as well start looking ahead. At least one high first-round draft pick seems likely, but according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, the organization is already trying to stockpile more.
The report states Joe Staley is available for trade, and the asking price for the five-time Pro Bowl left tackle is at least a first. It doesn’t sound like the cost is keeping teams from inquiring either, as the Vikings, Giants, Cardinals and Seahawks have all been linked to Staley. The Patriots were also mentioned, although the sense is they will only get serious if the 49ers go into fire-sale mode and are willing to take “whatever they can get.”
A potential trade makes sense for just about every one of the buyers listed. They all have Super Bowl aspirations this season or in the very near future, and they all have offensive line issues, particularly at tackle, which Staley would obviously solidify.
It might make sense for the 49ers, as well, seeing as it appears as though they are probably a long time from contending for anything. While Staley is one of the best, perhaps most underrated linemen in the NFL, he’s also 32 years old and likely reaching the end of his shelf life as a dominant player. If San Francisco could add a good pick or two now, that would certainly benefit the organization down the road when it’s rebuilding and Staley’s performance has declined.
Unfortunately for the 49ers, it sounds like there’s competition. If the Browns are offering Joe Thomas for a second-rounder, it could be hard to net that first. If the club lowers its expectations just a bit though, it’s not like both players couldn’t be moved before the Nov. 1 deadline. To be quite honest, it would probably be wise to at least consider a package of picks headlined by a second.