SNIDER: Williams trade came up short

Trent Williams is gone to the San Francisco 49ers but Rick Snider says the Washington Redskins got shafted in the end.
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Of course, the Trent Williams saga ended badly.

The left tackle’s trade value was dropping heavily after multiple bidders opted for the draft. Still, the Redskins opted to just give away Williams rather than hold out until the preseason when injuries might have created an emergency market.

A fifth-rounder now and a third-rounder next year by the San Francisco 49ers, who often draft near the end of rounds, was a major concession. The 49ers know their long-time left tackle Joe Staley is retiring because of health concerns. They were willing to give up a first-rounder last year for Williams. The draft was now in the fourth round and too late for San Francisco to find an immediate replacement. They needed Williams desperately.

And the Redskins said screw it and let Williams go rather than risk a potential holdout or locker room poison this summer. They absolutely should have gained the 49ers’ 2021 second-rounder. Teams pay one round higher when delaying it one year so essentially this was like a fourth and fifth now.

A second-rounder alone next year would be better than the fifth and third given. A second rounder is a probable starter. A third-rounder starts the 50/50 game that is the NFL draft. Some work out, some don’t. Sure, you can say that about No. 1 overall picks, but it’s better to risk a second-round bust than a third.

That the Redskins announced the move moments before drafting LSU offensive tackle Saahdiq Charles is eye rolling. A classic smoke-and-mirrors move. Like Charles is a legit replacement for Williams. The only thing Charles and Williams have in common is pot suspensions. No offseason camps keep the Redskins from truly seeing Charles’ value for a while, but he’s a backup. That said, Geron Christian as a starter is even scarier because he’s a proven bust after two years.

Paging Donald Penn – please pick up the white courtesy phone for return flight instructions.

It’s sad incoming coach Ron Rivera couldn’t get Williams to return for one season with the promise of 2021 free agency. Maybe there was no convincing Williams, but this looks like a quick decision rather than grinding out a better deal. Injuries happen and Williams would have absolutely drawn a better trade deal in late August-September when injuries are costly to contenders.

Instead, the Redskins gave Williams what he wanted – a safe harbor on a good team while awaiting free agency next year. That’s so disappointing.

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Rick Snider is an award-winning sports writer who has covered Washington sports since 1978. He first wrote about the Redskins in 1983 before becoming a beat writer in 1993. Snider currently writes for several national and international publications and is a Washington tour guide. Follow Rick on Twitter at @Snide_Remarks.