It’s been a busy NFL offseason that’s seen at least one major trade. There may be another one in the works, as a team known for its bad moves (the Washington Redskins) may be forced to move on from offensive lineman Trent Williams. Williams is unhappy there and asked the team for either a trade or his outright release.
How did the Redskins and Williams get here, and where is Williams likely to end up if the team does move on?
Trent Williams’ career achievements
First, let’s take a look at the impact Williams has had on the Redskins and what his departure may mean for the team. Williams was drafted with the fourth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. He doesn’t have much in the way of offensive statistics, but his achievements include:
- Seven Pro Bowl selections (each year from 2012-2018)
- Being voted as one of the NFL’s Top 100 players (each year from 2013-2018)
- Three All-Pro first-team selections, plus two second-team selections
- Pro Football Reference compared Williams favorably to several NFL greats, including Hall of Famers Kevin Mawae, Dermontti Dawson, John Hannah, Mick Tinglehoff, and Billy Shaw
Losing Williams would be bad for Washington. Last year they suffered from numerous injuries, forcing them to put together a patchwork line. Williams is a multiple-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler. With Washington most likely turning to a potential Rookie of the Year-winning QB this year in Dwayne Haskins, a solid offensive line will be paramount to their success.
Why he wants out of Washington
When Williams didn’t show up for Redskins’ mandatory minicamp, NFL insiders speculated that it was over a contract dispute. But according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, it’s more than that:
“CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora reported on [June 5] that Williams is upset over the way the team handled a serious medical situation that he had this offseason…Williams is so unhappy with the Redskins that he’s vowed not to play for Washington this year. Williams has told several teammates that he’s demanded to be traded or released.”
During the 2018 season, doctors found a growth on Williams’ head they feared malignant. Williams had surgery on the growth in February. While very little has been shared on the situation from either party, it appears as though something about the handling of that issue caused a schism between Williams and the team.
Trent Williams is one of the Redskins’ best players and, as noted above, losing him would be an absolute catastrophe for the offensive line. They already have enough question marks on both offense and defense; having to add another by losing one of their best assets would be a big blow.
Where Trent Williams could end up if he’s traded or released
It’s highly unlikely Washington will cut Williams, as they’ll no doubt like to recoup some value from him if they find the situation unsalvageable. It raises the question of where Williams is likely to end up if he is traded.
One possible destination that makes a ton of sense is the Cleveland Browns. Consider a few factors why they’d make sense as a landing spot for Williams:
- They made some sexy upgrades at multiple positions this offseason making them division favorites in some expert’s eyes. But they still need offensive line help to protect Baker Mayfield.
- The Browns are in the AFC North, which is decidedly not in the NFC East — the home of the Redskins and all their rivals. The last thing Washington wants to do is play a vengeful Trent Williams twice a season.
- Cleveland’s offensive line lost a few components in the offseason. The team cut left tackle Desmond Harrison after he missed mandatory minicamp, and Cleveland traded guard Kevin Zeitler to the Giants for defensive lineman Olivier Vernon.
The Browns clearly make the most sense. If Washington looks to move Williams, then it wouldn’t be shocking for him to end up in Cleveland.