49ers trade with Redskins for Trent Williams, Joe Staley done?

Trent Williams #71 of the Washington Redskins (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Trent Williams #71 of the Washington Redskins (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers made a blockbuster move with the Washington Redskins during the 2020 NFL Draft, trading for veteran offensive tackle Trent Williams. But what does that say about Joe Staley’s future?

The San Francisco 49ers quickly grabbed the headlines on day three of the 2020 NFL Draft despite not owning a Round 4 pick and staying awfully quiet on day two.

News, of course, wasn’t what many expected. Instead of trading up or down in the draft, the Niners were sending their fifth-round pick and a 2021 third-round selection to the Washington Redskins in exchange for veteran offensive tackle Trent Williams, who sat out all of 2019 in search of a new contract.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo first reported the news Sunday:

Williams was rumored to be on the move during day two of the draft, potentially to the Minnesota Vikings. But Minnesota added offensive lineman Ezra Cleveland in Round 2 of the draft, all but eliminating the need to bring aboard Williams.

As far as the 49ers are concerned, the immediate question is the future of left tackle Joe Staley, the team’s longest-tenured player, who was the subject of retirement rumors for much of the offseason after San Francisco’s loss in Super Bowl LIV.

Niners general manager John Lynch spoke to the contrary for much of the offseason. But San Francisco making a move for Williams has to point towards Staley calling it a career.

Stay tuned on that.

As for Williams, who played under then-Redskins, now Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan from 2010 through 2013 and will turn 32 years old before the start of the 2020 regular season, he’ll be seeking a new contract for which he sat out a year ago. But a small caveat here, had the Vikings secured the trade, Williams would have secured an extension. As Rapoport reported, no extension is part of Washington’s deal with the 49ers.

Williams has one year left on his contract, which earned a yearly average of $13.2 million. San Francisco has some cap limitations, yes. But if Staley indeed retires, that would clear the bulk of an $11.5 million cap hit for 2020.

Yet one still has to wonder what the long-term ramifications would be for the 49ers and Williams beyond this season.

Next. Best late-round NFL Draft picks in 49ers history. dark

But possibly the hardest-to-swallow item will be Staley’s immediate future, which appears to be heavily shifting towards retirement.