The San Francisco 49ers had been among the least active teams during the 2020 NFL Draft, primarily due to a lack of picks outside of Round 1.
That changed big time Saturday morning when multiple reports noted that San Francisco has traded for seven-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Trent Williams. The defending NFC champions give up a fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and a third rounder in 2021 to land the future Hall of Famer from the Washington Redskins.
It’s an absolutely shocking move on both fronts. The 49ers have their own Pro Bowler in that of veteran Joe Staley manning the fort at left tackle. Though, other reports suggest that the 35-year-old Staley has decided to call it quits after spending his entire 14-year career with San Francisco. It certainly is the end of an era in Northern California.
Williams, 31, has been one of the top offensive tackles in the NFL since Washington made him the No. 4 overall pick back in 2010. He earned Pro Bowl appearances each season from 2012-18 before holding out throughout the entire 2019 campaign.
Williams’ relationship with the Redskins had been strained past the point of repair. He had an issue with how the team handled a health concern leading up to the 2019 season and wanted a new contract. Drama involving Williams and former Redskins President Bruce Allen played into this.
Interestingly enough, Williams did not agree to an extension with San Francisco ahead of the trade. He’s set to count $12.5 million against the cap in 2020, the final year of Williams’ current contract. The two sides are working on a contract restructure for the 2020 season.
It might be a sad day for fans in the Bay Area. Staley has proven to be an all-time great since San Francisco made him a first-round pick back in 2007. His tenure has been defined by both rebuild and contention multiple times. It was just last year that the 49ers handed Staley an extension.
With that said, Williams is four years younger and has proven himself to be a better left tackle than Staley. The latter struggled at times last season, which makes this move even more noteworthy. Injury concerns forced him into retirement.
For Williams’ part, this is a reunion of sorts. He played under 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, then the Redskins’ offensive coordinator, from 2010-13. Shanahan’s father had a role in selecting Williams in the first round of the 2010 draft, too.
I will obviously have more on this blockbuster trade as things clear up. For now, the defending NFC champs add another huge piece to the puzzle as they look to repeat in the conference next season.
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