Those who have followed the post NFL career of San Francisco 49ers legend Joe Staley knows that he’s a blunt force in front of a television screen or in front of print and radio interviews, delivering hard-nosed opinions and not sugarcoating anything.
Especially when it comes to the team he put together Pro Bowl seasons for as the top blindside protector…but also for the teams he used to clash with in the NFC West.
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Much of the talk of the NFL world centered on the two blockbuster trades that saw Russell Wilson go from the Seattle Seahawks to the Denver Broncos and Carson Wentz getting shipped from the Indianapolis Colts to the Washington Commanders — both in a span of nearly 24 hours. Fans of the 49ers rejoiced about watching Wilson get sent away, mentioned in this Heavy on 49ers story.
Staley, however, went with a different tone. One with blunt force.
Staley Blasts Wilson Trade
Appearing on the Papa and Lund show on KNBR in the Bay Area on Wednesday, March 9, Staley gave this bold prediction of how the Wilson era in Denver will go in the 2022 season.
“I don’t think he’s going to be the huge difference-maker that everybody thinks that he’s going to be,” Staley claimed.
Staley never had to chase after Wilson during the time both were division rivals. However, Wilson and the Seahawks often got the better end of Staley’s 49ers. Per Pro Football Reference, Staley went 8-16 all-time versus the ‘Hawks. The 2011 season was the only time Staley’s 49er teams completed the regular season sweep of Seattle — which was a season before Wilson’s arrival to the league. Including the 2014 NFC championship game, Wilson is 17-4 all-time against the 49ers.
But even when Wilson was guiding victories over Staley and the ‘Niners, the six-time Pro Bowl left tackle believed that it wasn’t because of Wilson as to why Seattle was immensely successful against San Francisco.
“I’m not a huge Russell Wilson believer,” Staley said. “I know I’ve heard a lot of people that put him up at the top tier echelon of quarterbacks in the NFL over the last decade, but I think a lot of success, even if you go back to the year that they were dominating us, it was more that defense.”
Staley has a point. In every game Wilson played versus the 49ers, he never threw for 300 yards. His best yardage outing was 260 in the November 22, 2015 game won by the Seahawks 29-13. Staley was dealing with a cat-quick pass rush that featured Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett and were backed by the “Legion of Boom” secondary.
Staley Also Addresses Former Teammate’s Situation
Now, the next pending predicted quarterback trade involves the man Staley once protected during the fall: Jimmy Garoppolo.
With a new open spot in Indianapolis, Garoppolo has been listed as a possible option for the Colts with Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network first tweeting the expectation:
Staley told the radio hosts that Garoppolo is “playing a little bit of the business game” with this situation. He added that while Garoppolo handled things gracefully throughout the regular season trade talk following the drafting of Trey Lance, “it probably felt a certain way to him that they would draft a guy to take over his role” as Staley said. He concludes that the timing of Garoppolo’s shoulder surgery may have been made to diminish his trade value.