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49ers free agents 2016: Projecting a contract for Ian Williams

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Ian Williams is due for a pay-day following a strong 2015 season. We take a look at a potential contract for Williams as he gets ready for free agency.

The San Francisco 49ers have a handful of notable free agents set to hit the market in March. In recent years, when they have extended their own players, it has frequently come prior to free agency. That does not bode well for these players, but the market will dictate what will happen. Over the next week, I will be taking a look at four of these unrestricted free agent, giving contract comparisons on what to expect if the 49ers do attempt to retain that player.

We'll start with nose tackle Ian Williams. He hits free agency following a 3-year extension signed back in 2013. It was worth $3.2 million, with $1 million fully guaranteed at signing. After dealing with injuries in 2013 and 2014, he put together a healthy and strong 2015 season. He has outplayed that contract, and is line for a nice little pay day.

I say "nice little pay day" because nose tackles do not exactly cash in like higher profile defensive players. Here are a few comparisons, which comes via Jason Fitzgerald and Over The Cap. I have linked the player names to their OTC page to see a few more details.OTC.

Vince Wilfork - Houston Texans

Last offseason, Wilfork signed a 2-year deal, worth $9 million. The deal included $5 million fully guaranteed at signing, including a $3 million signing bonus. The average per year, or APY, is $4.5 million. Here is the contract breakdown.

Year Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Workout Other Cap #
2015 $1,000,000 $1,500,000 $1,000,000 $0 $0 $3,500,000
2016 $4,000,000 $1,500,000 $0 $0 $0 $5,500,000

Terrance Knighton - Washington

Knight signed a 1-year deal, worth $4.45 million, with $2.95 million fully guaranteed, including a $2 million signing bonus. Here is the contract breakdown.

Year Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Workout Other Cap #
2015 $950,000 $2,000,000 $500,000 $550,000 $0 $3,500,000

Sammie Lee Hill - Tennessee Titans

Lee Hill signed a 3-year deal, worth $11.4 million. It had $4 million fully guaranteed at signing, including a $2 million signing bonus. The APY was $3.8 million. Here is the contract breakdown.

Year Base Salary Prorated SB Roster Workout Other Cap #
2013 $2,000,000 $666,666 $0 $0 $0 $2,666,666
2014 $3,300,000 $666,666 $0 $100,000 $0 $4,066,666
2015 $3,800,000 $666,668 $100,000 $100,000 $0 $4,666,668

I believe with the 49ers sticking in a 3-4 scheme, Williams is a must to re-sign. Ideally they would get this done before free agency opens up. Based on the above comps, I believe Williams should come in on a 3-year deal worth $13.5 million, with approximately $5 million in fully guaranteed money. I also believe the 49ers would give Williams the same game-day active roster bonuses they gave him in his previous 3-year deal, which were $200,000 per year. He stayed healthy this past year, but the 49ers do a good job working these bonuses into new contracts.

I could also see the 49ers adding in workout bonuses, likely in the range of $250,000 a year. The 49ers don't normally go above that number, with the only players above that being Colin Kaepernick at $400,000, and Torrey Smith at $1 million.

As for how the come up with the $5 million in guaranteed money? I would give Williams a base salary of $1 million, which would be guaranteed at signing, and a $4 million signing bonus. I would also give Williams a 2017 base salary of $3 million, with that fully guaranteed on April 1, 2017, and a 2018 base salary of $4.15 million, with that being completely un-guaranteed.

If the 49ers worked out this kind of deal, Williams' 2016 cap number would be $2,783,333, his 2017 cap number would be $4,783,333, and his 2018 cap number would be $5,933,334.

This deal would put Williams tied with Wilfork for the highest average per year, and the highest total amount on a multi year deal for a nose tackle.

As always you can follow me on Twitter, @Jay_AB81, or check our salary cap section here, on Niners Nation, which is now officially the exclusive home for my salary cap information.