SF 49ers: 5 free agents Niners can’t afford to let go in 2021
By Peter Panacy
No. 1: SF 49ers Left Tackle Trent Williams
If the SF 49ers are forced to pick between Kyle Juszczyk and left tackle Trent Williams, they’ll go with the latter.
That’s an easy decision even though it would be tough.
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Williams was, by far, the most reliable of the Niners’ otherwise patchwork offensive line, earning himself yet another Pro Bowl nod in a year where San Francisco’s O-line was generally seen as the unit needing a ton of attention this offseason.
A free agent upon whom the SF 49ers can’t apply the franchise tag, the 32-year-old Williams won’t come cheap. According to Spotrac.com’s market-value tool, he’s worth a deal in the range of three years, $54.8 million — an average of $18.2 million annually.
That’s quite a lot. But when factoring in the Niners’ efforts over the years to build up through the trenches, it’s money well-spent.
Williams is going to have his share of suitors on the open market, too, and San Francisco can’t afford to get into a lucrative bidding war if one indeed takes place.
Even if that’s the case, the SF 49ers need to sell Williams on the idea he’s as close as ever to winning a Super Bowl despite the fact the Niners probably can’t afford to pay him the money he’d likely receive elsewhere.