FOXBORO — Trent Williams is one of the best left tackles in football. He’s had injury issues. He’s played for a bad team. Still, he’s an elite talent at one of the most important positions in football.
It stands to reason that any team inquiring about a trade for Williams would have to be ready to part with significant capital. Take a look at the cost for big-name left tackles involved in trades over the years: the Seahawks got Duane Brown and a fifth from the Texans in return for a second and a third; the Eagles nabbed Jason Peters from the Bills for a first, a fourth and a sixth.
It’s rare that All-Pro caliber tackles become available. But when they do, they’re expensive.
That’s why, on its face, seeing NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay say he’s heard the Patriots offered a first-round pick for Williams isn’t all that unfathomable. The Patriots currently have, in my view, two NFL-caliber tackles on their roster in Marcus Cannon and Isaiah Wynn, and they’ve shown a willingness to deal first-round picks in the recent past if it meant acquiring big-time talent; they picked up Brandin Cooks from the Saints for a first before the 2017 season.
But an acquisition of Williams would require the acquiring team to consider much more than the pick compensation it’d be giving up.
First, Williams is going to want a new contract. Williams has two years remaining on his deal and is scheduled to make $10.8 and $12.5 in base salary in 2019 and 2020. He has cap hits for both seasons that exceed $14 million.
For a tackle of his ilk? That’s pretty inexpensive. It’d come as no surprise if he demanded a new contract from his new team that exceeded the $16.5 million in average annual value Trent Brown received from the Raiders.
Then there are the locker room dynamics to take into account that would be thrust upon the Patriots after paying a player a new deal and making him one of the richest at the facility. Stephon Gilmore signed a contract in 2017 that pays him an average of $13 million per year.
In a vacuum, a first-round pick for a player of Williams’ caliber is fair. But what the Patriots, or any team, would have to give up beyond that to acquire him would make it difficult to pull the trigger.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.