The San Francisco 49ers faced a lucky break when Joe Staley retired.
Before the team traded for Pro Bowl offensive tackle Trent Williams, there were questions that needed to be answered. The 49ers needed to find a way to pay Williams’ $14.5 million cap hit given that the 49ers had just $13 million cap space. In order to get a done deal, the 49ers needed Staley to retire, so they could save $6 million against the cap.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed that rumor.
“Here’s what helped set into motion the Trent Williams’ trade: six-time Pro Bowl and All-Decade OT Joe Staley is expected to retire due to health concerns, per league sources. The 35-year-old Staley wanted to inform the 49ers in a timely way to help find a replacement. They have.”
In honor of Staley’s retirement, FOX uploaded a video on their Twitter page. It included a fantastic block by Staley with a caption that read, “Going to miss blocks like these. Happy retirement.”
When Staley retired, that gave the 49ers enough flexibility to make a trade happen.
Williams became a member of the San Francisco 49ers last weekend after John Lynch traded two draft picks, including a third-round pick for 2021 to the Redskins. The seven-time Pro Bowler did not play last season, but the team has faith he can provide an instant upgrade at offensive line.
Going to miss blocks like these! Happy retirement, @jstaley74 🙌
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) April 28, 2020
Staley remained with the 49ers until 2007, where he made six Pro Bowls. Injuries hampered his success last season, limiting him to just seven regular season games. Staley announced his retirement from the NFL on Twitter on Saturday.
His announcement came shortly after the 49ers traded for his replacement.
The retirement of an all-time great can be challenging, but this is one of the few times a team quickly recovers. Having proper communication with players is a plus. Maybe, that’s something the Redskins can pick up one of these days.
It’s been a hell of a ride. Thank you pic.twitter.com/V2VB2xKDzp
— Joe Staley (@jstaley74) April 25, 2020