The illustrious, successful career of Trent Williams as a Washington Redskin came to an end today. Seven-time NFL Pro Bowler and Washington Redskin offensive tackle Trent Williams was traded moments prior to the 2020 NFL Draft.
Williams was clearly the anchor to the Redskins offensive line, the most skilled and fiercest competitor on the left side for his nine seasons in Washington.
His athletic ability and movement for a man of over 300 pounds, were often a brilliant display.There is no question the name ‘Trent Williams’ name deserves to be in the same sentence as other great tackles in Redskins history such as Jim Lachey, Chris Samuels and Joe Jacoby.
Drafted in the first round (No. 4 overall) of the 2010 Draft, the former Oklahoma Sooner, Williams will now become a member of the San Francisco 49ers; while in return the Redskins received a fifth round choice in this year’s draft (156 overall) and also a third round choice in the 2021 draft.
The Redskins used that 156 pick selecting Keith Ismael a center from San Diego State, hoping he can develop, providing flexibility being able to play both center and guard in Washington.
Turning age 32 in July, Williams will now have opportunity to play for a contender.The 49ers who enjoyed a double-digit lead before losing to Kansas City in last season’s Super Bowl, have to be happy for this trade.
San Francisco already displayed an ability to run the ball effectively. Just ask the Green Bay Packers, who experienced the quite embarrassing NFC title game when the 49ers ran all over the Packers, literally shoving the ball down the Packers' throats on their way to the NFC Championship.
Williams provides the 49ers another weapon to maintain their running game and also help protect the back side of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
The transaction provides San Francisco a proven veteran of many years, a frequent Pro-Bowler, an athletic, quality instant starter, assuring them they should again contend for a trip to the Super Bowl. Former Redskins assistant coach Kyle Shanahan was on the Washington staff when Williams came to Washington and knowing the skills possessed by Williams, Shanahan was no doubt comfortable, perhaps even giddy, to acquire Williams.
Yet, isn’t the trade also a win-win scenario?
Don’t the Redskins also win in this transaction? Yes, on the surface the Redskins obtain two draft choices and draft choices do bring a degree of uncertainty with them.
Consequently, yes, the Redskins are not guaranteed both or either draft choice will contribute greatly in future years wearing the burgundy and gold. Below the surface however, it must be stated, the Redskins remove a player that frankly had become an ever-increasing toxic situation here in Washington.
Former executive Bruce Allen had dug in deep last season initially refusing to trade Williams in the off season. Subsequently, No. 71 refused to report to training camp.
Williams upon reporting to the Redskins on October 31st, painted a picture of the Redskins medical staff as clueless, regarding his tumor.
However, his admission of waiting five years to take action on the growth on his head after being notified by the Redskins did reveal the medical staff had informed him of the growth at an earlier point.
In short, Williams blasted the Redskins on several counts when he first spoke to the media in the locker room, even claiming "I almost lost my life" and that he was told to get his affairs in order.
The Redskins surprisingly chose not to defend themselves publicly against the various accusations.
They in fact responded they would be willing to hand over the situation to the NFL’s Management Council who could then convene a joint committee with the NFLPA to review the medical records and the medical care given to Trent Williams.
The Redskins had often under Bruce Allen failed miserably in public relations. However in this instance, the Redskins actually responded civilly and amicably and called Williams’ bluff and Williams folded. It was quite the revelation, as Williams unveiled he knew he could not prove nor back up his accusations against the Redskins.
Williams gave a lot to the Redskins during his nine seasons in Washington (2010-1018). But the rift between Williams and Bruce Allen increasingly developed before reaching its ultimate climax that fateful late October day.
Consequently, this off-season the Redskins new leadership of Ron Rivera and Kyle Smith was left no recourse by Williams’ actions, but to trade him. Rivera has learned in his many years in the NFL that he could not risk Trent Williams in the locker room this coming season.
Perhaps Williams will win a Super Bowl in San Francisco next season, and I certainly understand that is his desire now. But isn’t it just as true it was time to move on for Rivera and Smith?
Might a lesson to be learned here be that when one burns bridges he build a significant fire?
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Ivan Lambert is a lifelong die-hard Washington Redskins fan, raised in Berryville, Virginia. He is married and the father of two fine young men. He is currently a sports correspondent for The Ledger in Lakeland, Florida and can be found on Twitter @IvanLambert18