The San Francisco 49ers showed off their new home in style Thursday while quietly making a move to protect quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s blindside.
After an extravagant ribbon-cutting ceremony to open Levi’s Stadium, the 49ers announced left tackle Joe Staley has signed a two-year contract extension that will run through the 2019 season.
The 29-year-old Staley, who had wanted a new deal this offseason, was among the players at the event.
“We both felt it was time to get something done, and what I’m most excited about is the opportunity to play my whole entire career as a San Francisco 49er,” Staley said later on a conference call with reporters. “That was one of my goals that I set out to do as a rookie coming into the NFL – make an NFL roster, become a starter, win a Super Bowl and play my whole entire career with one team.
“So very excited for the opportunity to do that and really grateful for the 49ers allowing me that opportunity. Now it’s really just time to go work on that Super Bowl.”
Staley’s extension is the latest move in a busy offseason that has seen some of San Francisco’s biggest offensive contributors get new deals – and others take strong measures in hopes of getting one.
Last month, the 49ers rewarded Kaepernick with a six-year extension worth up to $126 million. Tight end Vernon Davis and right guard Alex Boone, though, have held out of the team’s voluntary offseason workout program and mandatory minicamp despite two years left on their current contracts.
Rather than sit out this summer, Staley participated in the team’s offseason activities. He believed all along that the 49ers would recognize his efforts – and they did.
General manager Trent Baalke said in a statement that Staley’s “commitment and professionalism have been great assets to our team and our community. This extension reflects our philosophy of investing in our core players.”
Staley stressed that every player’s situation is different. He called Boone and Davis great talents, especially noting what Boone has brought to San Francisco’s offensive line, and said he hopes both report to training camp next week.
The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Staley has come a long way since San Francisco selected him with the 28th pick in the 2007 draft out of Central Michigan. He has earned Pro Bowl honors the past three seasons while guarding Kaepernick’s back and helping to anchor San Francisco’s power running game.
“To protect his blindside for the years to come is something I take great pride in,” Staley said.
Also Thursday, the 49ers placed eight players on procedural injury lists. Running back Marcus Lattimore, wide receiver Bruce Ellington, center Marcus Martin, fullback Trey Millard, cornerback Keith Reaser and guard Brandon Thomas went on the active/non-football injury list. Linebacker Aaron Lynch and defensive tackle Kaleb Ramsey were put on the active/physically unable to perform list.
Those players count against the 90-man roster limit but can be activated any time before the final cuts of training camp.
Updated July 17, 2014