clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Trent Williams Redskins Rumors Tracker: What is the latest on the holdout saga?

It’s been a long summer

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Redskins Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

More and more reports have come out about the Trent Williams holdout, and it’s easy too lose track of the latest rumors. We’re going to give you a quick rundown of the latest stories from various sources.

What we already heard:

A lot more stories about the situation have been published in the last day or two that shed some more light on the holdout. These reports paint a pretty grim outlook for this having a happy ending for everyone involved.

Geron Christian gets drafted

First up is from a Washington Post story by Jerry Brewer that goes over some of the reasons the relationship between Williams and the Redskins has become so broken. He says this rift began last year when the Redskins drafted Geron Christian Sr. in the 3rd round while Trent was recovering from injury.

The fracturing began about 15 months ago with what seemed like the most innocuous decision. On April 27, 2018, the Redskins used a third-round pick to draft tackle Geron Christian No. 74 overall. Christian has turned out to be a raw prospect, one probably drafted too high, but this is where Williams started to stray mentally.

The move didn’t anger him, but he was perplexed. He wondered why his team, with an urgent need for help at left guard, would draft another tackle when he and Morgan Moses were entrenched starters, and Ty Nsekhe was a well-regarded, versatile backup. Then he considered that Moses had just received a huge payday, and Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff was about due for a lucrative extension. Williams, an eight-figure employee who was just about to turn 30, thought about his mortality and disposability for the first time. Did the drafting of Christian mean the Redskins were initiating the search for his successor?

When Christian was drafted, Williams wasn’t afraid of the competition. He was, however, in a vulnerable state of mind during a long rehabilitation. He finally acknowledged NFL reality: In a sport of attrition, loyalty is bad for business. While still committed, his mind-set shifted in a way that several people close to him hadn’t seen previously. But a return to the field lifted his spirits, and the last-minute arrival of friend Adrian Peterson before the 2018 season re-energized him.

Williams flies in his own training team weekly during the season to recover from game to game

Another thing we learned in Brewer’s article is that Williams has his own team fly in weekly to help his recovery from games. The Redskins spent a lot of money on a recovery center within the last two years, but Williams still feels the need to bring in his people.

During the season, he already flies in his own team weekly to help him recover from game to game. According to people familiar with the situation, that team met with the Redskins two years ago at the request of Gruden, who was soliciting outside ideas to combat Washington’s long history of injury problems.

Trent Williams asked to be traded on June 1st, then asked for more money when they turned him down

Another Washington Post story by Les Carpenter gives us insight into when this all went down. Trent requested a trade on June 1st, but the Redskins denied him. He then asked for a raise, but that obviously didn’t happen either. Three days later Williams was skipping mandatory mini-camp, and this saga was made public for the first time.

According to a person with knowledge of the Redskins’ thinking, Williams asked the team to be traded June 1. Washington officials decided a trade would not be practical and turned down the request. The person said Williams then asked for more money, which the team also declined, and the two sides have remained in a standoff since.

The Redskins strategy is to bleed Williams with fines until he returns to the team

The Redskins apparently think they can force Trent’s hand by fining him for his time missed at training camp. Williams has made a lot of money, and is reportedly not hurting financially so this one might not work.

The Redskins — for now — seem content to bleed Williams financially in the hope of forcing him back.

The collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association is loaded with weights designed to keep players from holding out of camp. Teams are allowed to fine players $40,000 each day they don’t show up for training camp and the preseason, which means Williams is already facing $280,000 in fines for sitting out the first seven days of practice. That number could grow to over $1 million if he does not show the rest of the summer, and he could lose an additional $1 million-plus in guaranteed bonuses.

The holdout is also costly. Two other CBA clauses kicked in this week that could take hundreds of thousands of dollars more from the roughly $1.5 million that make up this year’s portion of an $8.5 million signing bonus he got when he signed his current deal in 2015. The first of those clauses, activated Wednesday, allows the Redskins to take back 15 percent of the prorated bonus. The other, which started Thursday, permits the team to pull out an additional 1 percent of the prorated bonus each day until the fines total 25 percent.

In total, Williams has lost more than $500,000 in fines and pullbacks from his bonus.

Williams could lose another 25 percent of his prorated bonus if his holdout goes until the start of the season, and he could lose it all if he doesn’t report by Week 4.

Teams aren’t obligated to keep the money, however, and fines can be rescinded when an impasse is settled.

One person with knowledge of Williams’s thinking said the player’s “finances are good” and added, “Some things are more important than money.”

Williams does not care about the threat of fines

Pro Football Talk posted this story about Williams not taking the Redskins threat of fining him seriously

“Williams doesn’t care,” the source said. Williams believes (perhaps correctly) that the team will never be able to collect the fines if Williams never plays for them again, since there will be no game checks from which they can withold the fines.

Washington can pursue $1.62 million from Williams, which is the amount of unearned signing bonus remaining on his current contract. If/when Washington trades him, Washington will lose the ability to recover the bonus amounts.

Williams has not requested changes to the medical staff, Redskins don’t know what he wants

Craig Hoffman posted a story that contested the idea that Williams has requested changes to the Redskins medical staff. The Redskins aren’t sure what he wants, and what it will take to fix this holdout.

The team is somewhat confused with Williams’ request because they don’t know what he wants. A source familiar with their thinking indicated he has not demanded specific changes on the medical staff, and Williams’ side has been silent in attempts to negotiate a new contract.

Williams doesn’t want to be the highest paid LT again, but he would like more guarantees

Trent’s been through a lot with the Redskins and would like some guarantees in place for his deal.

A source familiar with Williams’ thinking indicated he wouldn’t demand to be the highest paid tackle in the NFL, but does want more guaranteed money. He currently has two years remaining on his contract, but next year’s $12.5 million base salary isn’t guaranteed.

He’s willing to sit out this season

If push comes to shove, Trent Williams is willing to stay at home for the entire 2019 season.

As of now, Williams is telling friends he’s prepared to sit out the season.

He’s not ready to practice right now

Trent wouldn’t be on the practice field in Richmond.

However, Williams still isn’t ready to play football yet. The cosmetic surgeries that were required to fix his head limited his ability to workout in the offseason. While Williams is in Los Angeles rapidly getting into shape, he isn’t there yet. When he is ready to play, his competitive nature could certainly kick in and his stomach to hold out could change.