Williams recalls 49ers’ failed trade attempt for him in 2019 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Since being traded to the 49ers throughout the 2020 offseason by the now-Washington Commanders, Trent Williams has established himself as the NFL’s premier left tackle.
But it surely seems it took a few tries for San Francisco to strike a take care of Washington for Williams, the All-Pro recently revealed.
Williams shared with The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami on “The TK Show” that although he desired to be traded to the 49ers in 2019, coach Kyle Shanahan’s estranged relationship with Washington owner Dan Snyder made things difficult.
“[Snyder] told me and my agent, ‘Are you serious?’ ” Williams told Kawakami. “I feel the 49ers had one of the best offer on the table on the time, I don’t desire to say what it was … That they had a high draft pick [and] a reasonably good player on the board.
“[Washington] just about laughed at us, like, ‘You’re thinking that we’ll send you to Kyle out of all people?’ And [the 49ers were] undefeated, and it just so happened they were playing the Redskins, or Commanders, that week.”
Pointless to say, the 49ers’ initial offer for Williams was turned down.
“It was like, ‘Yeah, we do not care what they’re offering us at this point,’ ” Williams continued. ” ‘We’re not going to do them a favor by sending you over there within the midst of what may very well be a Super Bowl season.’
“In order that’s why the trade didn’t occur then.”
But fortunately for the 49ers Faithful, Williams eventually made his approach to San Francisco after the 49ers sent a 2020 fifth-round pick and 2021 third-rounder to Washington in exchange for the left tackle throughout the 2020 NFL Draft.
And that trade only happened because of some “wheeling and dealing,” as Williams put it, by the trade acquisition himself.
“I needed to exit and reach out alone … I used to be on the brink of go to Minnesota, the deal was just about locked in,” Williams said.
Then, he called Shanahan.
“I’m like, ‘Listen, man. I get what they were saying last yr, but right away, the deal is about 80 percent done, and right away all I’m hearing is a fifth-round pick,’ ” Williams recalled. “So he was like, ‘What?’ He’s like, ‘Well, if that is the case, we are able to beat that by a mile.’ “
And even despite the Los Angeles Rams getting in on the bidding war for Williams together with the Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco ultimately emerged victorious after the lineman turned down coach Sean McVay.
“I had already had my eyes set to return [to the 49ers] and I said, ‘Coach, possibly after the season or something, but for right away, I feel the 49ers give me my best probability to succeed,” Williams said. “Not only as a team, but as a person player.”
Williams actually has succeeded since playing for San Francisco, and he became the highest-paid offensive lineman within the NFL after signing a six-year contract with the team following the 2020 season.
When all was said and done, Williams’ trade story became an ideal example of the age-old phrase, “If at first you do not succeed, try, try again.”