The 49ers have had a long run with a high-caliber anchor on the offensive line.
After 13 seasons with Joe Staley at left tackle, the team didn’t skip a beat trading with Washington for Trent Williams to take over for the 2020 season.
The eight-time Pro Bowl lineman is set to become a free agent, and his position mate Mike McGlinchey hopes the 49ers can lock Williams down for the foreseeable future. There is interest by both parties and McGlinchey knows how important the move could be.
“It was obviously a huge blessing for us to have Trent here this year,” McGlinchey said. “This game is a huge business but we’re hoping to keep him here as long as we can because he’s as good as it gets in this game.”
McGlinchey knows how lucky he has been to have experienced playing with both left tackles. While Staley and Williams have two completely different styles and abilities, the transition between the two was seamless.
“I’ve been pretty lucky over my first three seasons in the NFL, to be a counterpart to two Hall of Fame players” McGlinchey said. “Trent brings the same kind of talent, level of play, consistency, backbone, a guy that you can count on every week, just like Joe.
“Obviously the two of them are very different personalities but Trent came in as the new guy this offseason after the established success that he’s had with a team for nine seasons, and that’s not easy to do.”
Williams missed the entire 2019 season after a cancerous growth was removed from his head. He admitted the challenges he faced in the beginning of his 49ers tenure weren't rust from not playing, but needing to learn and adjust to Kyle Shanahan’s expanded playbook.
The left tackle quickly bonded with his new teammates, became a leader on the offense and was even elected a captain. Williams has proven why he should be the 49ers' top priority for a long-term deal in the offseason.
“To be the guy that he was, and the teammate that he was and the willingness to learn and be a part of what we do here, is a testament to who Trent is as a man on top of the level of play.”