The Washington Redskins traded star left tackle Trent Williams to the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round pick and 2021 third-round pick, ending a year-long dispute that resulted in the seven-time Pro Bowler missing all of 2019 due to a dispute with the team’s front office and medical staff.
The Redskins had been actively trying to trade Williams for the past few months, though ran into roadblocks when teams did not meet their asking price.
Ultimately, they settled on two draft picks to put an end to the drama. Despite Williams entering the last year of his contract, the 31-year-old reportedly won’t be given a contract extension with the 49ers — though will restructure his one-year, $12.5 million deal.
In a statement to the NFL Network, Williams said he was “thankful” to finally be traded.
“Thanks to Dan (Snyder) and the organization for all they’ve done for me,” Williams said. “Still a lot of love for the fans and that locker room. Now I’m focusing on being the best player I can possibly be for the 49ers.”
Williams, the fourth overall pick in 2010, spent nine years with the Redskins, but his tenure ended ugly. When Williams ended his months-long holdout in October, the left tackle revealed he had been diagnosed with a rare cancer related to a growth on his scalp. Williams accused the team’s medical staff of not properly handling the growth before his diagnosis and said he no longer trusted the organization. The Redskins flunked his physical upon his return and he did not play over the last half of the year.
After the season, the Redskins made attempts to repair their relationship with Williams. Snyder fired team president Bruce Allen and trainer Larry Hess, while coach Ron Rivera reached out to Williams to begin conversations about a potential return. But those talks, which included a brief face-to-face meeting, weren’t successful as Williams still wanted to be traded.
On March 5, the Redskins gave Williams and his agent permission to seek a trade — but that, too, turned ugly. Weeks after failing to make a trade, Williams’ agent blasted Washington for its “outrageous” asking price, reportedly a second-round pick or something equivalent.
The drama even extended to the final hours before the 49ers trade, with Williams and his agent denying multiple reports that said the Pro Bowler had shut down a trade to the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings had long been in pursuit of Williams, reportedly discussing a contract extension with him when negotiating a trade. On Friday, the Vikings reportedly offered the Redskins two Day 3 picks, including a fourth-round pick. But ESPN and the NFL Network reported that Williams informed Minnesota he did not want to go there, which caused them to back out of the deal and draft tackle Erza Cleveland in Round 2 instead.
With Minnesota no longer on the table, San Francisco swooped in with a similar package and the Redskins completed the deal.
In San Francisco, Williams joins a stacked roster coming off a Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He’ll also reunite with Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers coach who served as Washington’s offensive coordinator from 2010 to 2014. Kyle’s father, Mike, drafted Williams to the Redskins.
Mere moments after trading Williams, the Redskins drafted his potential replacement in LSU’s Saadhiq Charles with the 108th overall pick in the fourth round.
“Growing up an offensive lineman, I watched Trent plenty of times,” Charles said. “I have a lot of respect for his game. Just to see that they traded him and they picked me, just shows what they might have in mind for me. I’m going to come in there and work hard and just do my thing, man.”
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.