49ers' Trent Williams is 'best left tackle in football' when healthy

49ers' Trent Williams is 'best left tackle in football' when healthy

The 49ers had the NFC's best rushing attack last season, but their best offensive lineman has since retired. Consequently, they'll be a worse rushing team without Joe Staley, right?

Not so fast.

Staley was a standout performer throughout his entire tenure with San Francisco, and there are extremely few offensive tackles who could be considered in his same tier. One of those few, though, happens to be the player who will be replacing him.

Trent Williams is uniquely qualified to take over for Staley. The latter went to six Pro Bowls. The former has made it in each of the last seven seasons he has played, and he's four years younger. Williams sat out all of last season amid a dispute with Washington, but his reputation precedes him.

NFL Network's Brian Baldinger holds Williams in extremely high regard.

“If he’s healthy,” the former NFL offensive lineman told The Athletic's David Lombardi, “he’s the best left tackle in football.”

Though you'd be hard-pressed to find any sort of weakness in Williams' game, he is particularly tremendous as a run blocker. As Lombardi points out, the last season in which Williams had a clean bill of health, he posted the second-best run-blocking grade in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Given the fact that he just took a full season off -- and appears to be in fantastic shape -- there is every reason to believe he should enter the 2020 season the same way. Williams has said as much in his own words.

And, if Williams is fully healthy, Baldinger believes slotting him in for Staley will be an upgrade for the 49ers' rushing attack.

“Joe Staley -- everybody knows who Joe Staley is: the ultimate, consummate pro,” Baldinger said. “With Trent Williams, there are maybe two or three other players in the league who can run block like that. That’s why I think this team, as good as they were running the football last year, if Trent is on his game -- and with a year off, there’s no reason to think he won’t be -- if he’s on his game, they’ll be a much better run-blocking offense.

“I just remember one time against the Giants, he had to go in and play guard, since they had nobody else there. So he went inside and at guard, he’s quick like [Indianapolis Colts’ All-Pro Quenton] Nelson, he’s just that dominant inside. I mean, he’s just a dominant run blocker. And so the run game, with the way that they influence blocks, could be so much more with what he can do.”

So much more? 

[RELATED: How Tomlinson, new 49ers LT Williams building chemistry]

Staley set a high bar, posting the ninth-best run-blocking grade among all qualifying tackles last season. 

But if anyone is capable of clearing it, it's Williams.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

49ers' Richard Sherman calls out report on 2020 NFL season negotiations

49ers' Richard Sherman calls out report on 2020 NFL season negotiations

That's not exactly how Richard Sherman saw it.

The 49ers cornerback contradicted NFL Media's Ian Rapoport when he reported on Friday morning that the NFL and the league's Players' Association were nearly done with negotiations for the 2020 NFL season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

"Huge outstanding issues still are unresolved," Sherman tweeted in response to Rapoport's report. "We haven't agreed to anything in their proposal and literally just sent them a response. But all will be revealed."

Sherman has been one of the more outspoken players for the 49ers when it came to institutional response to the pandemic. He also questioned the motives of California Gov. Gavin Newsom after he reversed course several months back on the return of sports in the state.

[RELATED: NFL rumors: 49ers, Seahawks have discussed Jamal Adams trade with Jets]

We've seen a litany of players and team officials from sports around the country who have tested positive for the virus in recent weeks, and concerns continue to be raised about whether the NFL indeed will be able to proceed with fans in attendance at games along with a standard league schedule, which would require teams to travel all over the U.S. over the fall months when a potential second wave of coronavirus could take hold.

It remains to be seen how the league will come to an agreement with its players, as NFL camps are scheduled to open next month.

Deebo Samuel wants Jets' Jamal Adams on 49ers as trade rumors swirl

Deebo Samuel wants Jets' Jamal Adams on 49ers as trade rumors swirl

Deebo Samuel likes the idea of another potential Super Bowl run for the 49ers.

All-Pro New York Jets safety Jamal Adams has requested a trade from the Big Apple, and the 49ers have been one of his most-rumored potential destinations. Samuel took to his Instagram story on Thursday night to send a subtle message of encouragement to the 24-year-old safety.

[RELATED: George Kittle 'really proud' of team's offseason work, effort]

Both the 49ers and Seattle Seahawks have been reported to be in negotiations with the Jets regarding Adams, who has been an All-Pro in each of the past two seasons.

There are plenty of potential hurdles for the 49ers if they wanted to complete a potential trade for Adams. He has two years remaining on his rookie deal in New York and holds very little leverage outside of opting not to report to training camp and holding out. The Jets rightfully are asking for a high price, likely needing at least one first-round pick to even have a seat at the table in negotiations. All of that neglects to mention that Adams wants to be paid like the NFL's best safety (which he has a pretty good argument for being), but the 49ers' front office still has to pay George Kittle what is expected to be well above the current tight end market value.

Nevertheless, you can't blame Deebo for trying to bring as much talent to the 49ers as possible. 

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]