The odds that Trent Williams returns to the 49ers in 2021 might have just gone up.
In a report from NFL Media's Mike Silver, New York Jets new head coach and former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will be taking 49ers offensive line coach John Benton with him to New York as his offensive line coach and run game coordinator.
In Benton’s absence, 49ers game plan specialist Chris Foerster will be replacing Benton as 49ers offensive line coach.
Foerster was the Washington offensive line coach when Williams was drafted in 2010 and Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator. Foerster spent five seasons in Washington, remaining with the team in 2014 when Jay Gruden was named head coach following Shanahan's departure to the Cleveland Browns.
Williams played in Washington for nine seasons before being traded to the 49ers before the 2020 offseason. He and Foerster remained close throughout their seasons apart and both former Washington coaches made Santa Clara a more attractive destination for Williams.
Shanahan and Foerster not only influenced the left tackle's transition into the NFL but helped Williams play to his potential and shape his career for seasons to come.
The Pro Bowl left tackle has been vocal about trust with an organization being an important part of his decision making process after his tumultuous time in Washington. He sat out of the 2019 season after a cancerous growth was removed from his head, which he believes the was misdiagnosed and downplayed by the team’s medical staff.
Williams has also expressed his lack of desire to go to a franchise that is in a rebuilding process. The 49ers also have that category in their favor. Williams believes 49ers’ 6-10 record in 2020 was due in large part to their inordinate amount of injuries.
The 49ers finished the season with an unprecedented 43 different players spending time on injured reserve, 52 different starters and 80 players on and off the roster. With a healthy roster, Williams strongly believes the 49ers would have been contenders in the post season.
Testing the free-agent market is something that has peaked Williams curiosity but the 49ers likely will attempt to sign the star left tackle before that happens. The 49ers' coaching staff already tipped the scales in Williams' decision making process once, and hope to do it again in 2021.