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) /
2 of 3
Trent Williams, Redskins
Trent Williams #71 of the Washington Redskins (Photo by Evan Habeeb/Getty Images) /

Pros for 49ers Re-Signing Trent Williams

Joe Staley is arguably on the fringes of being a Pro Football Hall of Famer, while Trent Williams is a bona fide addition to Canton. It’s not often teams are able to land a player of his caliber.

And even while the Niners’ give-up price wasn’t expensive, at least in terms of NFL Draft capital, the thought of keeping Williams around for the foreseeable future has to be an attractive option for Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch.

It’s an obvious statement, but offensive success starts in the trenches. Let’s take a look at Pro Football Focus’ 2019 regular-season rankings of the 10 worst offensive lines:

  1. Miami Dolphins
  2. Los Angeles Rams
  3. Cincinnati Bengals
  4. Los Angeles Chargers
  5. New York Jets
  6. Seattle Seahawks
  7. Jacksonville Jaguars
  8. Chicago Bears
  9. Atlanta Falcons
  10. Cleveland Browns

Out of all those teams, only the Seahawks made the playoffs, and one could argue their long-time formula of not protecting quarterback Russell Wilson adequately enough has worked. Still, seven of those 10 teams finished with sub-.500 records in 2019.

San Francisco has invested considerably in its offensive line in recent seasons, namely bringing in center Weston Richburg on a lucrative free-agent deal in 2018 and then selecting right tackle Mike McGlinchey in Round 1 of that year’s draft.

Keeping Williams around would ensure there isn’t much turnover again heading into 2021, thereby allowing Lynch and Co. to utilize draft assets for other critical areas of need. The 49ers could see heavy turnover at cornerback, safety and even the defensive front seven last year, so eliminating the need to look at tackles a little less than a year from now would be beneficial.

Especially if the position is locked down by a perennial Pro Bowler.