While you were asleep, Trent Williams got paid like a quarterback.
Williams became the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history in a monster deal from the San Francisco 49ers that was reported in the early morning hours Wednesday. Williams' deal is for $138.06 million over six years, with $55,1 million guaranteed and a $30.1 million signing bonus, according to multiple reports including ESPN's Dianna Russini.
The 49ers acquired Williams in a trade a year ago, and obviously liked what they saw last season.
Trent Williams escaped Washington
Williams' relationship with the Washington Football Team fell apart, and the 49ers got him for the modest price of a 2020 fifth-round pick and 2021 third-round selection. Williams did what he always does, which is make the Pro Bowl.
Williams has made the Pro Bowl in each of the past eight seasons he has played in. Williams didn't appear in a game in 2019 during a tumultuous year. Williams had a cancerous growth on his head removed after Washington misdiagnosed it. Williams held out due to contract issues and his reported distrust with the Washington medical staff. Washington put Williams on the non-football injury list when he reported and said he had discomfort putting on his helmet. Washington traded Williams for some mid-round picks, and new WFT coach Ron Rivera said the team had an offer for a first-round pick the year before "but for whatever reason the deal was never done."
The 49ers benefited from Washington's bumbling. Williams was a great addition in an otherwise disappointing year. San Francisco should bounce back from a poor season that was derailed by injuries and COVID-19 issues. San Francisco clearly felt that to be a true contender it needed to bring Williams back, and it signed him to the type of deal we haven't seen from an offensive lineman before.
Niners expected to sign Alex Mack
Dumping out their wallet to sign Williams wasn't enough for the Niners on Tuesday night. They're also reportedly signing center Alex Mack to a deal.
Williams apparently knew about the Mack deal before anyone else. After the news of his massive contract broke, Williams tagged Mack in an Instagram story, signaling that the two were about to be teammates.
Mack is 35 and he's not the dominant player he once was. But he brings a few vital things to the 49ers: stability, and a familiarity with head coach Kyle Shanahan's scheme. Mack played under Shanahan when he was the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons.
Mack may not be in his prime anymore, but he'll still be a marked improvement for the Niners. They spent the entire 2020 season without starting center Weston Richburg, who didn't play due to injuries. Due to injuries to other players — the overarching theme of San Francisco's 2020 season — the 49ers were starting their fourth-string center by the end of the season.
After that struggle, Mack is a perfect fit. The offensive line lacked stability last year, and Mack can bring that along with his knowledge and experience. Plus, he's close with Williams. Given all of that, the Niners are already off to a much better start than last season, and that's before a single cleat has touched grass.
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