With the franchise tag deadline passed, there is a reshuffling at the top of the free-agent boards.
Gregg Rosenthal's Top 101 free agents of 2021 for NFL.com currently has San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Trent Williams sitting in the No. 1 spot.
With few offensive tackle options hitting the open market and a dire need at the position across the landscape, Williams is in a position to surpass David Bakhtiari's top contract for left tackles, despite being two years older.
The 32-year-old Williams hinted a return to San Francisco could be his first choice.
Williams joined the Cris Collinsworth Podcast with Niners teammate Richard Sherman and George Chahrouri. When Sherman suggested a return to San Francisco for Williams, the left tackle didn't disagree.
"I've got San Francisco. I've got him staying in San Francisco for the faithful," Sherman said, via Pro Football Talk. "I think he stays in San Francisco. I think he makes you guys happy for another 5-6 years and gets his gold jacket and then decides whether he wants it in Washington or San Francisco."
Williams replied: "That's not a bad take, fellas. That's not a bad take. Y'all barking up the right tree."
Williams was traded to the Niners from Washington last year after sitting out the 2019 season due to a dispute with the organization over health issues.
Even at 32, Williams remains one of the best blind-side blockers in the NFL. A return to Kyle Shanahan's team makes a ton of sense. The Niners would be left with a big hole if the annual Pro Bowler left and Williams seems comfortable with the club.
The 49ers have a decent amount of projected cap space, relative to many teams in the league, to help keep Williams in town. In the end, however, the money will talk. For the top player heading into free agency, a hefty payday should be on the way, even as the salary cap shrinks.