49ers

Should 49ers trade for Trent Williams after Joe Staley's broken leg?

Should 49ers trade for Trent Williams after Joe Staley's broken leg?

The 49ers' version of Mr. Reliable will be off the field for at least six to eight weeks. Left tackle Joe Staley, who has missed a total of four games since 2011, will be sidelined for an extended period of time.

He will miss more than those four games alone this season after breaking his left fibula in the 49ers' 41-17 blowout road win Sunday over the Bengals. Staley expects to be out for six weeks, but don't put that timeline in pen. The 49ers are lucky his injury doesn't require season-ending surgery, but it remains to be seen when he'll fully return to health.

So with Staley injured, what should the 49ers do now?

Coach Kyle Shanahan turned to rookie Justin Skule when Staley went down Sunday, but a sixth-round draft pick isn't exactly who you want protecting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's blind side. The 49ers could go bargain hunting ... or they could turn to a star who Shanahan is familiar with. 

With their first 2-0 start since 2012, the 49ers have playoff aspirations. Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have to assess this team's immediate future, which means they should entertain the idea of trading for Washington's left tackle Trent Williams, who still is holding out for a larger contract. 

Williams, 31, is a seven-time Pro Bowler and a beast of a man at 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds. He desperately wants out of Washington and has worked with Shanahan before, when the 49ers coach was his offensive coordinator for four seasons from 2010 through 2013. But Williams would come with a hefty price tag. 

To acquire Williams, the 49ers likely would have to give up a first-round draft pick, and they already lost their 2020 second-round pick when they traded for Dee Ford. Williams also has a $14.6 million salary-cap hit for 2020. Williams wants a new deal and the 49ers likely would have to secure him for the long haul. 

If that would be the case, the 49ers would be choosing Williams over Staley, who they signed to a new contract through 2021 this past offseason. Staley, 35, wants to be in red and gold his entire career. Are the 49ers willing to demote a player who has been loyal through tumultuous times?

The more likely scenario has the 49ers trading for another depth tackle. But is that the right move? 

Garoppolo showed superstar flashes Sunday. The 49ers have a plethora of running backs who can break off big runs and their defensive line might be the best in the NFL. Through two weeks, this team looks like a top-10 team in football

[RELATED: Now-injured Staley vows to coach 49ers rookie left tackle]

Lynch and Shanahan are sick of losing. In Year 3, they have playoffs on their minds. How far are they willing to go, though? 

The 49ers have a big decision to make and they can't waste any time while doing so.

George Kittle returns to practice, expected to play vs. Washington

George Kittle returns to practice, expected to play vs. Washington

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers tight end George Kittle showed up on the injury report with a groin strain last Friday. Two days later, he looked completely healthy going up against the Los Angeles Rams.

Kittle was held out of practice on Wednesday, but he returned to limited work during the 49ers’ padded work on Thursday at their team facility. Kittle downplayed the team’s report of his physical condition and is expected to play Sunday against Washington.

Kittle caught eight passes for 103 yards in the 49ers’ 20-7 victory over the Rams on Sunday.

However, the 49ers had seven players who did not participate in Thursday's practice. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk, tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon remain out of action.

[RELATED: McGlinchey had tough time watching 49ers' win from home]

Running back Raheem Mostert (knee), wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) and nose tackle D.J. Jones (hamstring) sustained injuries in the 49ers’ win over the Rams that have kept them from practicing thus far this week.

49ers practice report

Did not practice
DT D.J. Jones (hamstring)
FB Kyle Juszczyk (knee)
T Mike McGlinchey (knee)
RB Raheem Mostert (knee)
WR Deebo Samuel (groin)
T Joe Staley (fibula)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon (foot)

Limited
DE Dee Ford (quadricep)
TE George Kittle (groin)
CB K'Waun Williams (hand)

Washington practice report

Did not practice
S Deshazor Everett (ankle)
LB Josh Harvey-Clemons (hamstring)
G Wes Martin (chest)  
CB Josh Norman (thigh, hand)
RB Chris Thompson (toe)

Limited
TE Vernon Davis (concussion)

Full participation
QB Case Keenum (right shoulder, foot)
RB Adrian Peterson (quadricep)

Arik Armstead not thinking about contract amid breakout year for 49ers

Arik Armstead not thinking about contract amid breakout year for 49ers

SANTA CLARA — Not too long ago, 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead had trouble staying on the field and was labeled as someone who was not living up to first-round expectations. 

Armstead only was able to suit up for 14 games from 2016-2017, landing on injured reserve both seasons. But fast-forward to Week 7 of 2019, and Armstead is making a case for huge contract after he closes out his fifth season with San Francisco.

Armstead is set to have a career-best season, as he's already racked up 2.5 sacks, four quarterback hits, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and 20 total tackles, four of which were for a loss. The 49ers defense has been bolstered by several offseason additions, including edge rushers Dee Ford and Nick Bosa, and Armstead has been reaping the rewards. 

“It’s been great,” Armstead told NBC Sports Bay Area. “As a whole defense, they’ve had a big impact. It’s fun playing with great players. Those guys are extremely talented and they bring a whole different element to the defense.” 

With the edges sealed up, Armstead has been able to enjoy putting his hand in the dirt next to long-time teammate DeForest Buckner. The two have been playing together since their time at the University of Oregon. Both former Ducks stand 6-foot-7, and limit a quarterback's downfield vision tremendously. 

“Super fun, like it’s always been going out there with a great friend,” Armstead said. “We’ve been going to battle together for a long time. Just trying to go out there and dominate and have an impact on our team like we have had over the years.” 

Armstead won’t admit thinking about if his NFL future includes playing with the 49ers beyond this year. He has been focused on each opponent as they come, while enjoying the team’s victories -- at least just a little bit. 

“I’m just taking it week by week,” Armstead said. “Contract stuff, it’s out of my control. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen with that. All I can focus on is preparing for the game and try to go out there and dominate and win my matchups and show what I can do.”

[RELATED: How 49ers will attack trade deadline at every position]

Armstead has used his production on the field not only to increase his own future contract value, but also to fund equal opportunities in education for underserved youth in his home town of Sacramento. He is donating $1,000 dollars for every sack and $250 for every tackle he makes this season to his foundation. He previously raised $100,000 at his charity gala to fund programs. 

One of the events that Armstead created with his foundation was a trip for 30 students to spend the entire day at 49ers headquarters. They participated in a career panel with 49ers employees as well as getting a tour of the facility.

For more information on donating to Armstead’s foundation, visit www.arikarmstead91.com.