The San Francisco 49ers kept one of their prized players who was testing the free agent waters.
That is 10-year veteran offensive tackle Trent Williams.
Trent Williams and the San Francisco 49ers deal is for 6 years, $138 million.
He is the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history.
Of the $55,100,000 guaranteed
$30,100,000 million is a signing bonus.
The deal was done by @elsportsllc@loyalty24_7
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) March 17, 2021
He is now the highest-paid offensive lineman ever in the NFL.
While this is a huge win for offensive linemen who are often underappreciated, it does appear that the 49ers overpaid the 6’5″ 320 pound Williams.
Who Is Trent Williams?
Trent Williams is a unicorn. The 49ers had no choice to pay him whatever he wanted based on how he played in 2020. He’s a left tackle with a highlight tape. pic.twitter.com/mWw7N7hbPl
— KP (@KP_Show) March 17, 2021
Williams, 32, is a great player.
He is consistent, evidenced by his 8 Pro Bowl appearances in 10 seasons.
Washington drafted him in the first round (fourth overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft.
He played for Washington from 2010-2019.
The 49ers acquired him in a trade in 2020.
Market Value For Williams
Before we talk about his market value, it is worth noting that comparable free agent offensive linemen were not swimming in the free agency pool this season.
Lacking competitive players certainly helped Williams command an even bigger value contract.
Pro Football Focus ranked Williams 5th in their list of free agents.
Market value was projected to be in the $20 million dollar range annually.
A four year deal was considered likely.
Spotrac’s managing editor Michael Ginnitti projected that the 49ers would re-sign Williams to a 4 year $72 million deal.
What Williams Is Getting
Trent Williams is essentially getting his big payday before retirement.
He will be 33 in July so this is likely his final NFL contract.
$55.1 million of guaranteed money is remarkable as is the 6 year time period.
The annual payday comes in at $23 million which well exceeds Ginnitti’s $18 million and others who projected $20 million.
What This Means
This opens the door for other offensive linemen to command big bucks.
The key is longevity and consistency which is very difficult due to the grueling physical nature of that position.
It also is astonishing that the history-making deal comes in a year where there is a real salary cap crunch, and it comes from the team the player was with.
Many times blockbuster deals like this involve a new team signing a player away.
Why Didn’t The 49ers Franchise Tag Williams?
That is an interesting question.
It would have resulted in a cost savings for the team.
Franchise tagging Williams would have amounted to a $13.57 million payout for 2021.
Clearly, Williams did not want to be tagged, and he wanted to remain a 49er so the team worked with him.
There are arguments for and against tagging him, but it was an option.
It is not yet clear who San Francisco is planning to employ as their starting quarterback, but Trent Williams will have his back.
Though it seems like Trent Williams was overpaid, Kyle Shanahan wanted to know he had Williams for the long haul with the obvious goal of winning championships.
Time will tell if the huge investment in Williams reaps the intended benefits.