No offensive lineman has ever won NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Could the San Francisco 49ers’ Trent Williams – who was traded from Washington – be the first this year? Here are Williams’ odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year as well as the 49ers’ over/under win total.
Williams is one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL, making the Pro Bowl each year from 2012-18. But he also has dealt with numerous injuries over the years. He hasn’t played a full season since 2013. In 2016, he missed four games because of a suspension — his second — for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Last year, Williams sat out the entire season due to contractual and personal grievances he had with the Redskins regarding a cancerous growth on his head that was later determined by private doctors to be life threatening. The team doctors missed it.
Williams said he had lost trust in the organization, specifically former team president Bruce Allen, as well as the medical staff. Williams had the growth removed from his head that had gone undiagnosed for roughly six years. Williams added that he will need to get checked every six months to make sure the growth does not return.
“You know, I guess, somebody took the time and actually realized and tried to see what was really going on there,” Williams explained. “Football’s more important. And I mean to me it was more important, too. I was told it was something minor, so I didn’t really question them. I mean, the lump continued to grow over the years. It was concerning, but it was no pain involved. You know, if I’m being told by the very people who, you know, I put my career in the hands of telling me I’m fine, then I’m fine. That’s how I looked at it.”
After the Redskins failed to trade him before the trade deadline, he was reinstated on October 30, 2019. However, Williams failed to pass a physical exam, as he experienced discomfort with his helmet due to his scalp having postsurgical soreness, which resulted in the Redskins placing him on the non-football injury list. That meant the Redskins did not have to pay the roughly $6 million left of his salary for the year.
In March, Williams and his agent were granted permission to seek a trade to another team and on April 25, he was dealt to San Francisco in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
“I’m thankful this is over,” Williams said at the time. “I thank [Redskins owner] Dan [Snyder] and the organization for all they’ve done for me. Still a lot of love for the fans and that locker room. Now I’m focusing on being the best player I can possibly be for the San Francisco.”
The trade was set in motion with six-time 49ers Pro Bowl offensive tackle Joe Staley’s decision to retire due to health concerns. Williams is reunited with San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan, who was the offensive coordinator in Washington when the Redskins drafted him fourth overall in 2010.
The Niners moved some of Williams’ $12.5 million 2020 salary up front. Williams has passed his physical and both sides are still interested in a long-term extension. However, any deal would entail Williams proving he remains one of the league’s elite tackles after keeping away from Washington for all of last year. As part of Williams’ restructured deal this year, the Niners are unable to franchise tag him Williams in 2021.
“Obviously there’s an incentive for me to play well,” Williams said. “I mean, they give up a third-rounder next year, they kind of invested in the deal as well. I think both parties are interested in something long term. I’m more than OK with kind of just getting my feet wet and just playing it out.”
The 49ers are 7.5-point home favorites for Week 1 vs. Arizona.