The retirement of Joe Staley closed the books on all the players drafted from the Mike Nolan/Scot McCloughan era. In fact, only two players from those years are still on NFL rosters – Alex Smith and Frank Gore. If Michael Crabtree finds a team sometime this season, it will be a threesome of pre-2010 49er players still employed.
The longest tenured 49er now is, oddly enough, Jimmie Ward. From the 2014 draft class.
Looking at the current roster, there are only three, maybe four guys whom you might expect to still be here ten years from now. Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Mike McGlinchey, and maybe Nick Bosa. Although the ferocious way Kittle plays might preclude him from having a very long career. Fred Warner might also be a candidate, but linebackers don’t usually have long careers, either.
At least the franchise finally has the QB situation resolved. For twenty years, they had Joe Montana and Steve Young, then a couple years of serviceable play by Jeff Garcia, followed by fifteen years of trotting out one failed candidate after another. You can’t necessarily win a lot of SBs with an elite QB, but having one guarantees your team is at least in the mix each year (see Dan Marino: 0 SBs, 10 playoffs).
Of course this flies in the face of Jed York‘s professed disdain for anything other than SB wins, but it’s possible he’s shelved his arrogance after five years of self-inflicted pitiful teams. At least he’s been quiet lately, so perhaps he’s learned his lesson.
Another new era of players for all of us to form attachments to. Either good or bad.