Free agency truly provided eight-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams with everything he wanted.
“I thought I’d either get a lot of money and be somewhere I hated to be, or I’d be somewhere I loved to be playing for a discount,” Williams said on Tuesday during a video conference with Bay Area reporters.
Instead, Williams last week landed a contract that makes him the highest-paid offensive line with a $23.01 million average over six years. And the 49ers -- the team that broke the bank to keep him -- are the organization for which he wanted to be all along.
“I’m glad I’m back here,” Williams said.
Williams was well-compensated but miserable for a good portion of his career with Washington before a draft-day trade sent him to the 49ers with one year remaining on his contract.
The 49ers were not allowed to place the franchise tag on Williams, which meant he would hit free agency for the first time in his career.
“Free agency was pretty fun,” Williams said. “It’s always gratifying when somebody’s displaying a desire for you in any way.”
And one of the fun parts for Williams, he said, was to hear from players around the league trying to lure him to their teams.
One of the players he heard from was Indianapolis All-Pro guard Quentin Nelson. The Colts, Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs were among the teams reportedly pursuing Williams.
“When the recruiting starts you understand, ‘OK, I got a lot eyes on you and a lot of guys who’d love to share a locker room with you,’” Williams said. “That’s a numbing experience for your peers to go out of their way just to try to get you to be part of their team. That was my favorite part about it.”