Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that the San Francisco 49ers are willing to pay free agent left tackle Trent Williams up to $20 million per year to retain Williams in his Monday Morning Quarterback column.
Breer pointed out that the Chiefs and the Colts are two other potential teams to keep an eye on, as they have money to spend. The Chiefs just restructured a few deals to create $20 million in cap space.
Here is Breer’s excerpt on Williams:
That said, 49ers OT Trent Williams is about to get paid. I talked to a couple of guys over the weekend who studied Williams ahead of free agency, and were legit wowed by how spotless his tape was. In 2020, at 32, he maintained a level mirroring his prime in Washington, a prime during which he was one of the two or three best offensive linemen in the NFL. I think he’ll stay in San Francisco. But I don’t think the Niners will get it done without paying more than they probably figured they’d have to when they traded for him during last year’s draft, and, accordingly, I’ve heard they’re willing to go to $20 million per year to keep him. As for potential suitors to drive that price up, remember, when the trade happened, Minnesota was very much in it—and the Vikings just cut their left tackle, Riley Reiff. Then there are other high-end contenders, like Indianapolis and Kansas City, that have a need at the position. All of which adds up to a rarity: A non-quarterback in his thirties pulling down a top-of-the-market deal.
Describing Williams’ film from 2020 as spotless is spot-on. That lines up with Rich Madrid’s breakdown as well as the eye test.
When Breer mentions the Niners may have to pay more than they had initially hoped, what were they expecting to pay? It feels like $20 million has been the number that was needed to retain Williams all along. I’d be San Francisco offered Trent a contract at $18 million per year, and that was followed by Williams handing the 49ers a list of teams who would pay him more than that.
The last thing the team wants to do is get into a bidding war with other teams. With that said, all signs point to Williams returning to the Bay Area. If it takes an additional million or two to retain one of the best players at one of the most critical positions in the NFL, then so be it.