5 free agents who can make SF 49ers Super Bowl contenders in 2021

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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Trent Williams, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Trent Williams (71) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The SF 49ers need some offseason help to get back to Super Bowl contention, yet these five pending free agents could make that happen.

2021 is going to be an extremely challenging year for SF 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Currently, the team is looking at 49 pending free agents, in one form or another, and a sizable chunk of the roster that helped the team get to Super Bowl LIV last season is going to be gone by the time the calendar turns to the league new year this upcoming March.

On top of that, according to Over the Cap, the Niners are going to be challenged by a limited amount of salary cap space — $23,260,308 to be exact. Considering the 2021 salary cap is expected to drop as low as $175 million next year will make things tough, both in terms of re-signing key pending free agents, as well as luring in other players who could help turn a sub-.500 SF 49ers team back around into a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

At the same time, though, the lowering of the cap could ultimately force some free agents’ asking prices down. San Francisco will have to be frugal, yes. But if Lynch manages the cap correctly, going after one or more of these pending free agents could help turn the Niners back into a team looking at February football once again.

Note: All contractual and salary cap figures according to Over the Cap unless otherwise indicated.

SF 49ers Free-Agent Target No. 5: OT Trent Williams

San Francisco is going to be limited in cap space, yet the team should still go all out trying to re-sign veteran left tackle Trent Williams.

Williams has been the SF 49ers’ best anchor piece along an otherwise lackluster offensive line, and starting over on a rebuild within the trenches would make for a long road ahead for any quarterback under center.

To date, according to Pro Football Focus, Williams is posting a near-elite 89.7 overall grade and looks to be on par for his eighth career Pro Bowl nod.

Williams won’t come cheap. According to Spotrac.com’s market-value tool, he could earn an average annual salary of $15.4 million, which would eat up a sizable portion of San Francisco’s remaining cap space unless Lynch exercises some drastic cap-saving roster moves this offseason.

That said, retaining Williams should be one of the SF 49ers’ top offseason priorities.