The Vikings are reportedly interested in acquiring Redskins’ 7-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams.
Williams has been in a dispute with the Redskins for over a year now, having lost confidence in the organization over his medical treatment by the team’s doctors, and didn’t play last year because of it. He is adamant about not playing for the Redskins again, and three weeks ago he was given permission to seek a trade.
Devil in the Details
However, despite the Redskins shopping Williams through the Combine, which is when many deals get done, no team made an offer the Redskins could present to Williams and his agent.
The issues, or obstacles, to getting a deal done appear to be two-fold:
1. The Redskins are asking for a 2nd-round pick for Williams, who is in a contract year.
2. Williams had been reportedly seeking around $18-$20 million/year in a contract extension.
Both of those terms have been prohibitive for a couple reasons. First, many teams objected to giving a 2nd round pick for the soon-to-be 32 year-old with only one year on his contract, some calling it outrageous, and also think that the Redskins may eventually be forced to release Williams, although the team denies that will happen.
Secondly, Williams’ contract demands appear to be outside his market value. Clearly Williams has been a top left tackle in the league for many years, but at age 32, not having played at all last season, and having missed a number of games due to injury in recent years, discount his market value.
However, most recently Williams’ agent, Vince Taylor, has said the rumors of Williams seeking $20 million/year in a contract extension are, “totally false.” He went on to say that $16 million/year would not be, “out of step,” but that may also be high based on Williams’ age, injury issues, and not having played last season. He’s set to be paid $12.5 million this year.
Taylor also went on to say:
“If we could get to a point where we could talk about those numbers, that would not be a holdup for us,” Taylor said. “The contract has never been the holdup. The Redskins prior to the Combine put Trent on the trade market. They had him on [the trade block] maybe 10 days, and even through the Combine, which is the biggest business platform for teams looking to wheel and deal. Upon leaving the Combine, the Redskins had not gotten one offer that they could bring to Trent and I so that I could negotiate our side.”
All that sounds like Williams and his agent are anxious to get a deal done, and may be willing to consider a lower offer - maybe $14 million a year?
In any case, the Redskins demand of a 2nd round pick seems to remain the obstacle for now. I suspect that the Vikings would be willing to offer Riley Reiff in trade for Williams, which would fill the void at left tackle for the Redskins, but it’s unclear at this point that is enough to get a deal done. The Redskins have reportedly been seeking, “something comparable in value.”
Other Teams Interested
The Vikings are a late entrant into the Trent Williams market. Vikings QB Kirk Cousins played with Williams during his stint in Washington, and no doubt would welcome the big man back to once again protecting his blind side. The Vikings new assistant offensive line coach, Phil Rauscher, also came from Washington so there is that connection as well.
The Browns have also been interested in Williams, but apparently the Browns’ interest is waning. They signed right-tackle Jack Conklin to a big deal recently, and may not want to tie up that much salary cap in their offensive line - they’ve got three offensive linemen that will each be over $10 million in salary cap in 2021. They also hold the 10th pick in the draft, and could easily secure a top left tackle with that pick.
The Jets are also reportedly interested, but recently signed left tackle George Fant, so that looks like they may have moved on from Williams.
It’s not clear if any other teams have expressed interest in Williams, but it looks like the Vikings may be on a very short-list of suitors for Williams’ services.
The Vikings, by cutting or trading Riley Reiff, could free-up enough salary-cap space to acquire Williams for at least the next couple years, perhaps adding a 2-3 year extension to his current contract at $14 million/year.
Lastly, a deal could also be delayed due to coronavirus-related issues. The NFL has ordered all team facilities shut down, which includes free-agent visits and physicals by team doctors. Given Williams’ injury issues in recent years, along with the fact that he didn’t play last year, the Vikings may want their own doctors perform a physical exam. It can be done by third-party doctors, however, if that would be acceptable for the Vikings.