San Francisco 49ers: Ranking 5 best moves from 2020 offseason

Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina Gamecocks (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina Gamecocks (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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Trent Williams, San Francisco 49ers
Trent Williams, San Francisco 49ers (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

No. 1: 49ers trade for Trent Williams

Little did we know, but the 49ers had been playing chess when everybody else was playing checkers.

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The 49ers were not seen as a potential destination for tackle Trent Williams. Joe Staley was supposedly around for one more year and the team didn’t seem likely to hand over the picks the Washington Redskins were demanding.

But time went on, and Staley decided the time had come to retire. His last act in San Francisco was to inform the team ahead of time so it could put the plans in place to find a worthy successor.

The animosity between Shanahan and Washington owner Dan Snyder is well known. In fact, it may have played a part in quarterback Kirk Cousins not being traded to San Francisco as part of the roadmap Shanahan and general manager John Lynch had initially laid out for the franchise.

So it was a shock when the Redskins traded Williams to the 49ers for a mere third- and fifth-round pick after a long holdout that had lasted for over a year.

To grab one of the few tackles who have a claim to being a better tackle than Staley in the last decade was enormous. To get him for only a couple of mid-round selections was grand larceny.

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Even better yet, Williams knows the blocking schemes of Shanahan. There’s no danger of the COVID-19 situation handicapping him learning the system.

Lynch is a savvy trader, and this was easily the best move the 49ers made during the offseason.