3 options 49ers have to replace Joe Staley if he retires

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Joe Staley, 49ers

Joe Staley #74 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

There’s a budding concern the San Francisco 49ers could lose veteran tackle Joe Staley to retirement in 2020, meaning some replacement options have to be discussed.

Imagining a San Francisco 49ers team without veteran left tackle Joe Staley is probably just as painful as imagining the team without running back Frank Gore or linebacker Patrick Willis.

And yet Niners fans everywhere must understand that realization is going to happen sooner than later.

A report from NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco suggested there was a 50-50 chance Staley decides to retire between now and the start of the 2020 season. Either way, Maiocco pushed the idea San Francisco should prepare for the inevitable reality Staley will be gone, perhaps as soon as this summer.

For the hopeful crowd, Staley hasn’t officially announced any plans to retire despite undergoing yet another crushing Super Bowl loss paired with an injury-plagued 2019 campaign. The soon-to-be 36 year old was still rehabilitating at team facilities outside Levi’s Stadium, per Maiocco, before COVID-19 shut that down.

Third-year right tackle Mike McGlinchey, who has become Staley’s close friend, said he feels as if the veteran can still play at a high level.

Perhaps. Yet McGlinchey also noted it’s ultimately Staley’s decision to call it a career whenever he feels it’s the right time.

Should Staley retire, some think the natural move would be to bump McGlinchey from the right side over into Staley’s void. But Niner Noise pointed out why that isn’t necessarily going to be the case automatically.

Instead, there are likely to be other routes taken by head coach Kyle Shanahan and the front office to ultimately replace the 49ers’ longest-tenured player if it ultimately comes to that.

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