The 49ers will enter free agency as the frontrunner to re-sign left tackle Trent Williams, but they will face fierce competition from a number of teams around the league, including the Kansas City Chiefs.
CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported Monday that the Chiefs are looking to "kick the tires" on the top offensive linemen on the market and are viewed by some executives as the 49ers' "top competition" for Williams' services.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the Chiefs are in the market for offensive line help after getting mauled upfront by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. Kansas City needs help at both tackle spots after parting ways with both Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes restructured his contract to free up cap space this offseason so it's fair to expect the Chiefs to be willing to go big to secure one of the NFL's best blindside blockers to protect Mahomes.
The Chiefs won't be the only ones fighting with the 49ers to sign Williams, however. Expect the Indianapolis Colts, who have to replace the recently-retired Anthony Castonzo, to get in the mix for Williams. The Minnesota Vikings, who tried to acquire Williams via trade last offseason, also are a potential threat.
When all is said and done, it's likely that Williams will garner a contract worth at least $20 million per season. That's a price the 49ers reportedly are willing to pay, but even that number could end up coming in on the low end.
Williams, who was Pro Football Focus' top offensive tackles in 2020, is the 49ers' biggest offseason priority. The NFC West is filled with talented pass rushers, so it's important that the 49ers re-sign Williams in order to put a solid offensive line in front of Jimmy Garoppolo.
Williams has hinted that he would like to return to San Francisco, and it's possible his relationship with Kyle Shanahan could be the difference in him heading to Kansas City or Indianapolis and returning to the Bay.
After giving up just four sacks and allowing pressure on 3.6 percent of his dropbacks, it's clear Williams will be one of, if not the most-coveted free agent on the market, and the 49ers will have to pay a hefty sum to keep him from suiting up for another contender in 2021.