Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN predicts 49ers will re-sign Trent Williams

Nov 20, 2020 at 7:56 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers are currently scheduled to have a lot of their players hit free agency next offseason. A lot. Thirty-four players are scheduled to become either an unrestricted free agent or a restricted free agent, according to Seven more are scheduled to become exclusive-rights free agents.

One of the team's biggest names scheduled to hit free agency is offensive tackle Trent Williams, who has played just nine games with the team. San Francisco traded for the seven-time Pro Bowl selection in April to replace the retiring Joe Staley.

ESPN's Kevin Seifert ranked the top 25 players scheduled to hit free agency in 2021, and Williams came in at No. 16. He was the only player among the 49ers' slew of potential free agents to make the list.

ESPN's 49ers beat writer, Nick Wagoner, predicts that Williams will be back with the 49ers next season under a new contract.

"It won't be easy, though," notes Wagoner. "As part of his arrival in San Francisco, the Niners adjusted Williams' contract so they couldn't franchise-tag him, which means he could head to the market and find the biggest payday possible. But if Williams leaves, the 49ers have another glaring hole to fill and though they're going to be cap-strapped, there are moves they can and should make in order to retain his services. The hope is that his level of comfort with the 49ers and coach Kyle Shanahan will help the team sign him to an extension."

Head coach Kyle Shanahan certainly hopes Williams decides to stay with the 49ers. The familiarity was already there as San Francisco dealt for the veteran tackle. During Williams' first four NFL seasons in Washington, the two worked together when Shanahan was the offensive coordinator there.

"I mean, Trent knows how I feel about him, how our whole team feels about him, and I think Trent feels the same," Shanahan said this week. "So, hopefully, it makes sense for him to stay here. I know it makes sense for us.

"The tough part about this league, we've got a lot of good players, and we've worked real hard to build our roster up, and that's why we've had to make tough decisions last year. And we're going to have to do it again this year.

"Everything is tied together. But I know Trent is very important to me and very important to our team, and someone I want around here for a while."

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