As of today, NFL teams can now negotiate with prospective free agent players with plenty of sports news talk in between. NFL free agency officially begins on March 13th at 1PM PST and already, the San Francisco 49ers made headlines. NFL Network Ian Rapoport reported the 49ers reached an agreement with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Kwon Alexander on a four year/$54 million deal. There are also rumors swirling that the 49ers are still looking into trading for New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. With an estimated $65 million in cap room to spend, let's preview another potential 49ers' target in Los Angeles Chargers WR Tyrell Williams.


Player Profile


Williams was an undrafted free agent from Western Oregon in 2015 who quickly ascended with his 6'4" 205 lb. frame with the Chargers. Injuries in 2016 pushed him into a feature role and he finished out the season with 69 catches for 1,059 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. While Williams has been rather quiet the last two seasons, it's understandable considering the Chargers' depth with fellow receivers Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Travis Benjamin. Despite the competition, Williams still outproduced all 49er wide receivers last year.


Williams finished out the 2018 season with a modest 41 catches for 653 receiving yards and five touchdowns. However, his blend of size, speed, and athleticism make him an intriguing free agent for the 49ers as a deep ball threat with a career average of 16.3 yards per reception. From a pure talent perspective, Williams has all the makings of a true number one receiver.


Fit on the 49ers


As mentioned before, there are still OBJ trade rumors circling the league with the 49ers as a possible destination after the Oakland Raiders traded for Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown on Saturday.

They just parted ways with Pierre Garçon after injuries derailed him during his tenure in San Francisco. I won't necessarily say the team is desperate…but I can't imagine 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan feeling good with sophomore receiver Dante Pettis as the team's top wide receiver. Kendrick Bourne—another undrafted free agent—led the receivers group with 42 receptions for 487 yards last season while Pettis led the team with five touchdowns.

Speed is something the 49ers lack with Pettis and tight end George Kittle known more so for their route running and agility to produce yards-after-the-catch. Outside of Kittle, the 49ers have lacked a red zone presence the last couple seasons; perhaps Williams can remedy both deficiencies.

Likelihood


The real question lies in paying Williams top receiver money for a player who hasn't consistently produced. He's currently in his prime at 27 years old with no major history of injuries. Obviously, free agency figures can get a bit skewed as teams get trigger happy in the opening days of free agency. The price for Williams' service could drive up just by the scarcity in this year's free agency class with Eagles' Golden Tate, Buccaneers' Adam Humphries, and Packers' Randall Cobb as the only other big name receivers drawing attention. The New York Jets just signed Redskins' Jamison Crowder to a three year/$28.5 million contract with $17 million guaranteed.


That bodes well for Williams, who could command upwards of $14 million annually if the market plays out right for him. Could he be this year's version of Sammy Watkins in free agency? Watkins signed a three year/$48 million deal with the Kansas Chiefs last season despite finishing the previous season with 39 catches for 593 receiving yards and eight touchdowns with the Los Angeles Rams.