As Redskins minicamp opened up on June 4th, there was one player who was notably absent.
Left Tackle Trent Williams, the Burgundy and Gold’s longest tenured player, a team captain, and a seven-time Pro Bowler, was a surprise hold out from the team’s first mandatory practice of the summer.
Williams’ holdout may have been surprising to some folks at Redskins Park, but on the surface, it looked quite normal in today’s NFL. A veteran star player believes he deserves more money and is willing to miss meaningless practices to get it. The NFL seems to have a few of these types of holdouts every season, but rarely do they end without the team and player reaching some sort of an agreement. However, as minicamp carried on with Williams MIA, one thing has become abundantly clear: this holdout goes much deeper than just annual salary.
Back in April, NFL Insider Ian Rappaport reported that Williams had to have a tumor surgically removed from his scalp. It was seemingly swiftly taken care of and it was reported that Williams was doing well and was on track to be ready for training camp. That all changed when CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported that Williams’ holdout had nothing to do with money, but how the teams’ medical staff handled his medical emergency. Canfora even went as far as saying Williams has vowed never to play for the Washington Redskins again.
Redskin running back Adrian Peterson, who is a very close friend of Williams, has since said that he regularly talks to Williams and that he has never mentioned anything of never playing for the Redskins again.
While no one seems to know for sure what is going on with Trent Williams, there’s one thing fans know: that the team can not afford to lose Trent Williams.
After drafting quarterback Dwayne Haskins with the 15th pick a little over a month ago, Washington needs to have Williams in the lineup Week 1. In the last decade, no player has brought stability at such an elite level as Williams. If the Hogs can’t get Trent back, it will seemingly take a miracle for Haskins’ to stay healthy for a full 16 games.
2018 3rd round pick position? Geron Christian seems like one of the most likely alternatives if Williams leaves. However, he played only two games–starting none–last season before tearing his MCL. The other option was once a punchline Redskins fans used to make fun of Giants fans until a few months ago. After being drafted ninth overall by the Giants in 2015, Ereck Flowers’ career has quickly fallen apart. After surrendering an absurd amount of sacks and pressures in his first few seasons, he quickly became one of the most unpopular Giants players in recent memory and was released by the team last October. Despite only allowing one sack in eight games after signing with the Jaguars the second half of last season, Flowers’ time in D.C. has gotten off to a rocky start, to say the least. In fact, Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter Michael Phillips even said:
“It’s possible nobody is having a worse minicamp than Ereck Flowers. After getting manhandled by Sweat last week, Flowers, playing at the left tackle position, was picked up and moved around like a piece of unwanted furniture throughout Tuesday’s drills. Ryan Anderson will look like a Pro Bowler in the film room when the tape is reviewed. The Redskins, hopefully, are coming up with starting five combinations that don’t involve counting on Flowers.”
And, while Morgan Moses has been an above-average pass-protector since arriving in Washington, it’s unclear whether he wants to make a switch to left tackle at this point in his career. Either way, if Williams leaves, either Flowers or Christian will have to protect Haskins–something no fan ever wants to hear.
Suffice to say, if Bruce Allen doesn’t resign Trent, it’s going to be a long season.
- Sean Hannegan & Sam Shiffman