Trent Williams missed all of last season amid a dispute with Bruce Allen and the Redskins medical staff. Could Ron Rivera convince him to return in 2020?
Last season, one of the biggest stories surrounding the Washington Redskins was Trent Williams’ holdout. Williams announced during the summer that he wouldn’t be reporting to the ‘Skins and that he wanted to be traded in the final year of his contract. Some speculated that this could be related to a new contract but in reality, it was amid a dispute with the team’s medical staff and Bruce Allen.
But with Allen and a new medical and training staff in place, could Williams return to the Redskins? That was the hope of many fans in the lead-up to the 2020 season. And it was on new head coach Ron Rivera to see if he could get Williams to come back to the squad.
Well, now the two sides have reportedly made contact. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Williams and Rivera have “touched base” and it seems like the conversation was “positive”.
Rapoport would go on to say that there were still “plenty of issues to sort out“, but this at least appears to be a step in the right direction.
The Redskins could really use Williams given their murky future at offensive tackle. Donald Penn, who did a decent job filling in for Williams after being signed during training camp, is set to be a free agent and will turn 37 in April.
Morgan Moses struggled at right tackle last season and while the team may give him one more shot to prove himself, they’ll need to have insurance in case he falters again. And no, Geron Christian doesn’t count. The former 2018 third-round pick out of Louisville hasn’t looked like a capable NFL player through two seasons and unless he improves rapidly, he can’t be trusted as anything more than a back-end roster player.
If Williams returns, he would slot in on the left side and at least ensure that the Redskins are set on one side of the line. That would afford them the opportunity to draft a quality swing tackle who can develop behind Williams and push Moses for the starting job. That should be doable in a deep tackle class, but having Williams would surely make it easier for the team to wait to take a tackle until the third round, which they will have to do if they’re intent on taking Chase Young with the No. 2 overall pick.
That said, if Williams doesn’t want to return, the Redskins will have to try to trade him to recoup some assets. Squeezing a second-round pick out of a team would be ideal, but would teams be willing to pay that price for a 31-year-old tackle who hasn’t played since 2018 and has had some health concerns? That much is unclear, especially given the depth of the 2020 offensive tackle class.
And that’s another reason that Bruce Allen may have erred in keeping Williams beyond last year’s trade deadline, as they would’ve gotten better value for him at that point. But if he returns, that point will be moot.
Overall, this is still a fluid situation with two distinct outcomes. Rivera and Williams “touching base” is a big deal and hopefully, their positive conversations will continue. If not, however, it will be time for the Redskins to try to get the most out of Williams as an asset and set up the long-time Redskin for future success elsewhere.