No. 3: Will Trent Williams’ One-Year Absence Help or Hurt 49ers?
One of the reasons why the Niners were able to lure Trent Williams away from Washington for a mere two mid-round draft picks was due to his holdout situation, which resulted in him sitting out all of 2019 in search of a new contract.
Williams’ career was hindered by injuries for many of the years leading up to last season’s holdout. But it isn’t as if the seven-time Pro Bowler simply forgot how to play after taking a year off.
If anything, the added break could be a major bonus for the soon-to-be 32 year old.
But that’s the conundrum. San Francisco doesn’t have a viable long-term option to replace Williams beyond this season. According to Spotrac.com’s market-value tool, he’s worth an average annual salary of $15.4 million.
Unlike previous seasons under Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers aren’t exactly laden with a plethora of cap space. Simply put, re-signing Williams in 2021 is going to damage the team’s abilities to re-sign or extend other key players on the roster, such as tight end George Kittle and cornerback Richard Sherman.
Yet the Niners want Williams to play like a Pro Bowler, considering he’s anchoring a spot Joe Staley made a non-worry for the near entirety of his career.
And that may simply price Williams out of San Francisco’s range beyond 2020.