Kyle Smith acknowledged the obvious: If the Washington Redskins had traded Trent Williams earlier, the team executive admits, compensation might have been better than the two mid-round draft picks they ended up with.
The Redskins on Saturday sent the All-Pro left tackle to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2020 fifth-rounder and a 2021 third-round pick — significantly less than the first-rounder the team likely would have gotten if the disgruntled Williams had been dealt last summer.
But for now, the Redskins are glad the years-long saga is behind them.
“Trent Williams is a first-round value, that’s what he is,” said Smith, Washington’s vice president of player personnel. “That’s what the tape tells you. That’s what everybody knows. His circumstance and everything that has gone into this for two years or whatever it’s been, that’s what’s devalued him.
“At the end of the day, for the Washington Redskins, what we got for with a fifth and a third, we’re happy with what we got. And it’s time to move on.”
Under former team president Bruce Allen, the Redskins refused to trade Williams last summer, hoping a series of fines would force an end to his holdout.
The left tackle demanded a trade in 2019 over the team’s handling of a cancerous growth on his scalp, as well as the franchise’s unwillingness to renegotiate his contract.
Now under new management, the Redskins had hoped Allen’s departure and a series of firings throughout the organization would entice Williams to reconsider.
But when it became clear the pairing couldn’t be salvaged, the Redskins gave Williams’ camp permission to seek a trade.
The deal with San Francisco came Saturday, a day after a reported trade with the Minnesota Vikings fell apart. The Vikings were reportedly willing to offer two draft picks, including a fourth-rounder, but pulled out when Williams’ representatives informed them the tackle did not want to play for Minnesota. (Williams’ camp denies this.)
Redskins coach Ron Rivera said it was time for a fresh start for both sides.
“We’re going to build this culture with guys who want to be here,” Rivera said, “guys who want to be apart of what we’re doing.”
Williams didn’t fit that description. Instead, the seven-time Pro Bowler happily joins a stacked 49ers team coming off a Super Bowl appearance. He’ll replace All-Pro Joe Staley, who retired Saturday, and reunite with coach Kyle Shanahan, Washington’s former offensive coordinator.
Smith said the Redskins did the best that they could, given the circumstances.
“We’re ready to move forward,” Smith said. “I can’t wait personally to stop talking about it and can’t wait to stop hearing about it. … We got what the Washington Redskins wanted. And that’s what is fair compensation to us. This is resolved. It’s over.”
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