NFL

Trent Williams Can Thank COVID-19 for the Boost to His $12.5 Million Contract

The 2020 season hasn’t gone how Trent Williams and the San Francisco 49ers expected.

Williams arrived in California this offseason hoping to make an instant impact for the defending NFC champions. Instead, the injury-depleted San Francisco 49ers will likely miss the postseason.

At least, Williams is having another All-Pro caliber season — and in a year where he is already making $12.5 million, his contract just received a boost because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trent Williams is having another excellent season

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Irony perfectly describes Trent Williams’ 2020 season.

Williams fought tooth and nail to leave the Washington Redskins, even sitting out last year because of a dispute with the franchise. In April, Washington traded Williams for a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft and a 2021 third-round selection.

Williams joined a San Francisco 49ers team which had just lost Super Bowl 54 to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Now, it appears the 49ers will miss the playoffs entirely, while the renamed Washington Football Team can win the NFC East Division.

Williams is at least having another elite season entering free agency. The seven-time Pro Bowler has played 91% of the 49ers’ offensive snaps — his most in any season since he didn’t miss a single snap for the Redskins in 2013 — and has committed only six penalties in 11 games.

The San Francisco 49ers are now playing in Arizona

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Trent Williams and the San Francisco 49ers had to relocate to Arizona earlier this month.

Recent COVID-19 protocol changes in Santa Clara County — where the 49ers play their home games — prohibit contact sports. Rather than move to Oakland or San Diego and stay in California, the 49ers are now practicing and playing in Arizona.

The Arizona Cardinals are sharing State Farm Stadium with the 49ers. It is not yet known if the 49ers will be able to close the regular season in Santa Clara or if they will play out the string in Arizona.

The 49ers and Cardinals do not share a common home date that would prevent Wiliams and teammates from finishing the year in Arizona.

Trent Williams benefits from the 49ers playing in Arizona

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Trent Williams and his San Francisco 49ers teammates have one reason to be thankful for their temporary move to Arizona.

Taxes in Arizona are far lighter than they are in California. For comparison, California has a 13% state income tax to Arizona’s 4.5%. 

NFL players are taxed where they train and play, meaning the 49ers will be taxed nearly 10% fewer for their ‘home’ games in Arizona. 

In his recent ‘Football Morning in America’ column on NBCsports.com, Peter King broke down Williams’s situation and how much money he can potentially save.

Williams has a $12.5 million base salary, and his weekly check is $735,294. According to King, Williams stands to save a great deal of money with the 49ers playing in Arizona, especially if the 49ers don’t return to Santa Clara this season. 

“Each week of a home game, that would mean Williams would have $95,588 deducted for California taxes. But that number would shrink to $33,088 weekly in Arizona. So the three-game savings for Williams—admittedly one of the highest-paid players on the team—would be $187,500.”

There aren’t many people in professional sports who can say they benefited financially from the COVID-19 pandemic. At least for now, Trent Williams and his 49ers teammates are in that unique club.

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