Trent Williams remains the SF 49ers’ biggest re-sign candidate before he hits NFL free agency. But here’s why he won’t re-sign.
But it’s not going to be as easy as merely suggesting it.
Williams, 32 years old, can’t be hit with the franchise tag after reworking his deal following the 2020 offseason trade that sent him from Washington to the Niners. And with top NFL tackles like the Green Bay Packers’ David Bakhtiari, the Baltimore Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley and the Houston Texans’ Laremy Tunsil receiving massive extensions with their respective teams, Williams’ own value just skyrocketed based on his Hall of Fame-caliber career.
San Francisco tried to re-sign Williams already, but the soon-to-be free agent told reporters at the conclusion of the 2020 season he wanted to see what his value would be on the open market. While he felt the SF 49ers would be his preferred destination, it’s pretty clear Williams understands this is likely to be his last big payout at this stage of his career.
The combination of a diminished 2021 salary cap and nearly 40 other pending free agents is going to hinder the Niners’ efforts to keep Williams around on a long-term deal.
And it’s not too hard to see why the signs are pointing closer to San Francisco letting Williams walk in NFL free agency rather than re-signing him.
So, while it would be in the SF 49ers’ best interests to retain Williams however they can, here are three reasons why they end up letting him walk this offseason instead.