Pros, cons for 49ers re-signing Trent Williams in 2021

Trent Williams #71 of the Washington Redskins (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Trent Williams #71 of the Washington Redskins (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Trent Williams, Redskins, 49ers
Offensive tackle Trent Williams #71 of the Washington Redskins (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers would like to keep veteran tackle Trent Williams around for a while, but is re-signing him a no-brainer?

It’s still weird to think the San Francisco 49ers actually landed an upgrade over veteran left tackle Joe Staley during the offseason.

But that was the case when Staley retired just before the 2020 NFL Draft, then kept his announcement quiet until the Niners were able to pull off the deal of deals, sending away two mid-round NFL Draft picks to the Washington Redskins in exchange for seven-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Trent Williams.

Williams, who’ll turn 32 years old by the start of the regular season, is notably younger than Staley and should be a perfect fit in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense. After all, Williams partook in the scheme back when Shanahan was Washington’s offensive coordinator between 2010 and 2013. So, while Staley’s retirement was a bit of a shocker, landing Williams in such a way was quite the consolation prize for San Francisco, and the hope is the team’s offensive line doesn’t miss a proverbial beat heading into 2020.

The problem, though, is Williams is entering a contract year and will be a free agent in 2021, barring any sort of extension. ESPN’s Field Yates reported this week Williams and the Niners finalized the terms of his contract to eliminate the possibility of a franchise tag next year, and also that an “eventual goal for both sides remains a long-term deal.”

Sounds like a plan and an easy one.

Except for the fact Williams wants a long-term contract, which is one of the reasons he held out for all of 2019. San Francisco surely wouldn’t mind rewarding Williams with a new contract when time permits, but it’s not necessarily as easy as one might think.

Niner Noise explores both sides of the equation, why it’s beneficial to lock Williams up long term, then also exploring why it’s risky.