The 49ers have re-signed Trent Williams to a six-year, $138.06MM deal (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). The deal comes with $55.1MM guaranteed and a $30.1MM signing bonus and makes Williams the highest-paid offensive lineman.
The Chiefs, Colts, and Bears all wanted Williams, but the incumbents won out. There were, at least, consolation prizes for the Chiefs and Bears — Kansas City landed top guard Joe Thuney while the Bears allocated their dollars towards quarterback Andy Dalton and a new deal for (not-as-impressive) tackle Germain Ifedi.
The 32-year-old blocker graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 overall tackle last year after sitting out the entire 2019 season. He’ll turn 33 in July, but he was widely regarded as the best available free agent in this year’s class, regardless of position.
The current rate for top offensive tackles is around $22MM per year. Despite his age, Williams has topped that with an average annual value of $23MM. Previously, the watermark was held by Packers lineman David Bakhtiari, who inked a four-year, $92 million extension back in November. He could have gotten those dollars anywhere, but Williams has said all along that he’d like to play out the rest of his career in San Francisco.
“San Francisco would be the leading candidate regardless,” Williams said earlier this year. “So even if it does make it to free agency, it won’t be because I’m trying to go somewhere else. It may be simply because I want to see my value. It’s been 11 years in this league, and I have yet to see a franchise left tackle go to the open market. I think it would be interesting to kind of see what [my] value holds.”
Williams’ value is mostly predicated on his world-class performance, but it was also lifted by the lack of quality offensive linemen available in this year’s class. Rather than reaching for subpar protection, the Niners shelled out the big bucks for one of the best tackles in the business.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.