49ers free agency: Grading 2021 additions and losses
By Peter Panacy
Grading 49ers making Trent Williams highest-paid O-lineman in NFL history
You get what you pay for. And in the 49ers’ case, they’re getting a future Hall of Famer in Trent Williams.
Originally, at least according to reports, the Niners were willing to offer Williams a deal worth $20 million annually. But with Williams testing the market and receiving reported interest from other teams like the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco couldn’t stand idly by.
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The 49ers needed to pony up the cash. They did.
Fortunately, the annual average value only increases to $23 million, which is still significant. But few would argue against the 32-year-old perennial Pro Bowler being the best offensive tackle in the game.
Just ask those teams like the Chiefs or Seahawks what not having a solid offensive line can be like.
More importantly, the Niners can now save their top picks in the NFL Draft to address other areas of need, potentially a quarterback, cornerback or pass-rusher while not having to use it on a starting-caliber tackle who’d need to step in right away and fill the void Williams otherwise would have left. That can be crucial.
Plus, Williams is still playing at an elite level, and there’s little reason to think he’ll regress anytime soon, meaning San Francisco has the best possible bookend in the league.
The 49ers invested smartly here and receive a worthy grade as a result.