The S-bent stays were necessary after all. Cole had wanted them initially but I had my doubts as to whether they'd help with clearance. 13.7" slammed in the pic with a 2.3" tire and a 28t sprocket.
A closed in gusset: I usually stay away from this design as it can prove to be a stress riser that causes cracking of the DT. I made sure not to let things get too hot and drilled a backpurge hole specifically for the gusset (to prevent any embrittlement on the inside heat affected zones)