With the conference championship games slated for this weekend, we have just three more Sundays left until the 2020 NFL season is officially over.
It’s not surprising to see veteran left tackle be named the winner of the Bruce Mathews Award for best offensive lineman. PFF gave Williams the highest grade out of any offensive lineman in the league, the third time he has been given that honor.
The 32-year-old is due to become an unrestricted free agent, and re-signing him should be at the top of the priority list for general manager John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan. Williams’ new deal could be in the $20 million per season range, which is the going rate for premier left tackles.
PFF also recognized the Niners’ best defensive player during the season. Fred Warner received an 88.6 grade for his 2020 performance, tops of any linebacker in the league.
“Warner’s instincts and feel in zone coverage paired with his athleticism make him a strong candidate for best coverage linebacker in the NFL. That’s exactly what he was this season, per PFF grade, as his 91.1 coverage grade led all linebackers. Not only did he grade higher than any other player at the position this season, but it’s also clear that he’s among the leaders in the 49ers’ locker room after being named the winner of the Len Eshmont Award and the Bill Walsh Award for the 2020 season in San Francisco — awards voted on by the players and coaches, respectively.”
The 24-year-old continues to impress early in his career. Warner was named a first-team AP All-Pro for his efforts during the season, where he established himself as one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL.
Warner’s coverage skills are a cut above the rest. He only gave up 4.4 yards per target, and opposing QBs had a 69.7 rating when throwing in Warner’s direction. That’s a start improvement from the 91.8 rating QBs had when going after Warner in the passing game during his rookie year.
PFF also named Jason Verrett as the biggest surprise at corner. The veteran was ranked eighth by PFF among all cornerbacks after racking up 60 total tackles, seven passes defended and two picks.
The 29-year-old has dealt with some bad injury luck in his career but put together a strong season for San Francisco after injuries ravaged the secondary starters.
All three players will need new contracts soon. Williams and Verrett could hit the open market as UFAs, while Warner will be up for an extension as he enters his fourth season as a pro.