Grading 49ers Actions in First Round of Free Agency
By Jerod Brown
49ers Re-sign Nose Tackle Ian Williams
One of the first moves of importance was reported early Wednesday morning before the league year actually began. The 49ers have been prepared for nose tackle Ian Williams’ oncoming free agency and some saw the team’s move to extend defensive tackle Quinton Dial as insurance in the event Williams elected to play elsewhere in 2016.
The Niner Noise staff has advocated for the re-signing of Williams on more than one occasion and to wake up Wednesday to reports of a deal felt validating. Thanks for listening, Trent Baalke.
The importance of Williams can’t be emphasized enough. While most believe he is simply a two-down nose tackle, he has grown as a much more polished and complete defender. The statistics back up his performance in 2015, his first fully-healthy season as a starter.
The 49ers are expected to continue utilizing a 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil. Retaining one of the best nose tackles in the league should’ve been a priority for the 49ers this offseason. In assessing the value of Williams’ play, the 49ers got a relative bargain for one of their best players both on and off the field.
Compare that potential salary to the contract that former Denver Broncos defensive tackle Malik Jackson is expected to sign. Remember, Jackson was on fans’ list of 49ers targets this offseason.
If you’re interested in more salary cap figures, be sure to follow Jay Hurley, a contributor and salary cap guru at Niners Nation.
So, the 49ers made their first “splash” in free agency by doing what many fans had hoped for. After a disastrous 2015 season, retaining one of the best players on the team helps in repairing a terrible public relations image. The re-signing of Williams happened early enough to keep him from getting too heavily pursued by other teams. He surely was drawing some attention.
The 49ers locked down the one player that they needed to. When you combine the play of Williams with the salary that the 49ers have agreed to give him, this grade is the easiest to give of all.
Next: Letting the Rhino Walk