Trent Willing to do for 49ers; What He Wasn't Willing to do for Redskins

Trent Williams career in Washington will never be viewed for what it could have been because of many reasons. Some on him. Some with the Redskins.

The Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers finally played "Let's Make a Deal" on Saturday.

After not being allowed to make a transaction with his former team because Bruce Allen held a vendetta against two people he fired, Kyle Shanahan swung a trade that landed him Trent Williams.

Thankfully it was over. The Redskins can go back to their business and the 49ers replace one hall-of-fame tackle (Joe Staley) with another (Williams).

What made the deal possible according to Kyle Shanahan? Williams' willingness to play on his current contract.

"Trent has been out of football for a year and a half, and Trent made it clear to everyone he wants to come back and didn't want to do a deal right away," Shanahan told reporters in San Francisco after the trade.

"He wanted to play and try to get back into it and see where he was at with the rest of the league and pick up where he left off. That's one of the reasons we were able to get him and get him for what we did. I think it really helped us in the situation we were in."

Pardon me, while I laugh loudly for the next 30 minutes. 

The other reason was that with Staley retiring, it opened up a savings window that the 49ers could use for the remaining portion on Williams' one-year deal.

So let me clear this up. Trent Williams was willing to play for Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers (defending NFC Champions) for no additional money and as far as we know, no additional guarantees, which is what he was insisting on here.

He was not willing to do that for Jay Gruden, Bruce Allen, Dan Snyder, Ron Rivera or Kyle Smith.

Or for Redskins fans.

Clearly, nobody expected him to kiss the rear-end of Bruce Allen. For obvious reasons.

Williams and agent Vince Taylor fully expected to snap a finger, walk right in and bully a first time de facto general manager in Smith and a first-time football operations chief.

It didn't work. There were leaked stories to the Washington Post and Tony Pauline, probably from both sides. 

Who knows?

None of the public shenanigans worked because in the end, as we said all along here at, Trent only wanted to play for Ron if Rivera got down on his knees and worshiped the ground Williams walked on.

Williams was only willing to play in Washington if the Redskins' new brass felt bad for Williams' principled stance last year and they didn't.

Why? Rivera wasn't here and brought in a policy of not automatically giving contract extensions (Quinton Dunbar, Ryan Kerrigan to name a few).

Smith is certainly no pushover and will be a general manager sooner than later, in Washington or not, and there are some people around the NFL that believe it will not be with the Redskins.

Oh and then there's Dan Snyder. Ahh yes.

"I have a ton of respect for Dan and what he's done here," Williams told reporters on October 31st. 

The guy that Trent Williams mentioned for helping to save his life and that his agent Vince Taylor pointed out as a conquering hero.

The problem is this: Snyder may have helped save Williams' life at one point, but he wasn't going to allow him to drive an 18-wheeler over the franchise's dead, rotting carcass.

Not last year, not this year. Williams had a contract and had made plenty of fully guaranteed money.

Even before he know how scary the tumor was, Williams was privately squawking about his contract to Allen in January 2019.

The Redskins owner could have and likely would have helped Williams more and possibly secured his future in Washington, if Williams didn't turn his back on Snyder's franchise in a make or break year. 

No matter how right he was about the misguided leadership and medical treatment in certain cases, Williams handled it wrong, trying to force the hand of management. 

 It goes without saying that everyone was concerned for Williams and his health, but that doesn't mean companies, big or small, are going to just give you what you want. 

Trust me, that's not the way it works in corporate America. Even in the NFL. 

Back to the San Francisco part of it - of course - Kyle Shanahan is trying to protect his guy. 

Are we to believe that all of a sudden Williams doesn't care about money? C'mon!

Williams had two options in the end. Minnesota and San Francisco.

Neither was offering a contract extension or a huge raise. Why? Because they didn't have to. Nor should they have.

I'm sure this will be disputed, but multiple teams (as in many) pulled out of having any interest in Williams coming to play for them because of the finanacial demands.

Now - after sacrificing a minimum of $14 million dollars last year, was Williams going to turn his back on another $13 million?

Nope. He had no choice because he refused to give the Redskins, Rivera, Smith and Snyder, along with the many fans that supported him over the years the same courtesy he gave to Shanahan and the 49ers. 

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Chris Russell is the Publisher of & Sports Illustrated's Washington Redskins channel. He can be heard on 106.7 The FAN in the Washington D.C. area and world-wide on Chris also hosts the "Locked on Redskins" Podcast and can be read via subscription to Warpath Magazine. You can e-mail Chris at or follow him on Twitter at @Russellmania621.