Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Beat writer says 49ers should be wary of Colts in Trent Williams sweepstakes

Mar 5, 2021 at 9:24 AM--


The San Francisco 49ers still have exclusive negotiating rights with offensive tackle Trent Williams' representatives. That will change on March 15, when negotiations with other teams can begin. With no new reports of any negotiating progress with San Francisco, it sounds like Williams remains on course for the open market.

The 49ers reportedly had "extensive" contract talks with Williams' representatives before the team's regular-season finale. They hoped to avoid a situation in which the eight-time Pro Bowler even approaches free agency. Obviously, that did not happen, and here we are.

Williams and San Francisco have a mutual desire to stay together. Still, there is the temptation for Williams to learn his worth.

"It's been 11 years in the league," Williams said in January. "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 the value holds. Regardless, like I said, I've always maintained the same thing. I think San Francisco is my number one destination, and we'll see how things work out."

One 49ers beat writer, Matt Barrows, feels there's one team poised to compete with San Francisco in free agency for Williams' services.

"If I'm the 49ers, I'm most worried about the Colts," Barrows said in a recent mailbag for The Athletic. "They seem to have the combination of salary-cap space (currently fifth-most in the league) and realistic playoff aspirations of all the potential suitors. Williams also would line up next to All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson and, of course, the state taxes in Indiana aren't nearly as high as they are in California."

The Indianapolis Colts are expected to have over $44 million in salary-cap space, per OverTheCap. The salary-cap tracking site recently increased San Francisco's expected cap space to over $23 million, much better than before but not in the same ballpark as the Colts.

Barrows feels that if the 49ers lose Williams, whom they traded for last offseason, general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan could look to the draft for a replacement. That doesn't necessarily mean using the No. 12 overall pick on one, though.

"The 2021 NFL Draft class might not have five tackles drafted in the top 20," wrote The Athletic's draft analyst, Dane Brugler, "but the depth and volume at the position in the first three rounds are even better than a year ago."

Added Barrows: "The 49ers could use the money they had set aside for Williams on a veteran defensive lineman."





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