For players like San Francisco 49ers tackle Trent Williams, the 2024 Super Bowl will be the biggest game of their career. The elite blocker is entering the final stage of his career, and there may not be a better time to hang it up then after a Super Bowl.
But that’s not what Williams has in mind. In fact, the 2023 first-team All-Pro answered a question about his retirement on February 8, saying he thinks he’s “in” for at least another two years.
“I haven’t thought about an end,” Williams said. “I know I’m definitely in for the next couple of years, I’ll revisit it after that… Winning on Sunday will only make me want to win another one next year.”
It will be Williams’ first Super Bowl appearance as his 13th season in the league comes to an end. After making the playoffs just twice in 9 seasons with the Washington Commanders, Williams has made it to three consecutive NFC Championships and will now play in football’s biggest game.
Considering that Williams looks as good as ever, there’s no pressure to retire. San Francisco can plan for life after Williams once he stops making All-Pro squads each season.
Williams’ Set for Pay Raise
A probable part of Williams’ desire to keep playing is that he has a lot of money on the table. The deal he signed with the 49ers in 2021 was backloaded and then restructured, so a large majority of the contract’s value has not been paid out.
Spotrac shows that $30.1 million of the $138 million contract was paid out as a signing bonus. But in terms of salary, Williams has made $4.5 million over his first three seasons. That will change significantly starting in 2024.
Williams will be due $20.5 million in salary next year, and then $22.5 million in 2025. His restructure also means the 49ers will be paying him $4.74 million each season going forward, although that money was fully guaranteed anyway.
The salary is not fully locked in, so retiring would be walking away from that sum. And if the 2025 total is eye-watering, the salary jumps up further in the final year of the contract: should Williams remain on the roster, he will be due $32.2 million.
Former 49ers QB Speaks on 2024 Super Bowl
For Alex Smith, the 2024 Super Bowl is clash between “his” two teams. While he began his career with the 49ers, he also had a significant run with the Kansas City Chiefs. And ahead of this year’s clash, he openly said that he thinks the 49ers will have trouble.
In an interview with ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Smith criticized the 49ers’ defense. Essentially, San Francisco’s lack of impact plays is a red flag, and Smith thinks the 49ers will need to win a shootout.
“This 49ers defense doesn’t do a lot,” Smith said on January 30. “They don’t present a lot of volume. I think… they’re going to be in for it. The only chance I think the Niners have to win is a little bit of a shootout, and again, this Chiefs defense just continues to elevate their game.”
That may be the case, but San Francisco won the NFC Championship with a shootout. They’ve proven they can do it, but doing it on February 11 will be a challenge.