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10 Training Camp Questions: Trent Williams, holdouts, and distractions

10 Training Camp Questions: Trent Williams, holdouts, and distractions

After three straight seasons missing the playoffs and two consecutive years finishing 7-9, the Redskins need laser focus during their training camp time. On the current pace, that isn't going to happen. 

The team's best player, left tackle Trent Williams, won't be with the Redskins in Richmond as he's holding out for either a new contract or some sort of armistice with the team's medical staff.

Unquestionably, the Williams contract holdout has become a major distraction for this Redskins team. 

Don't think so? Think about these situations:

  • Every day when he speaks at the podium, head coach Jay Gruden will be peppered with questions about Williams' status and if there are any updates about the situation.
  • When veteran QB Case Keenum speaks at the podium, not having Trent Williams will be among the first questions he's asked. 
  • When rookie QB Dwayne Haskins speaks at the podium, not having Trent Williams will be among the first questions he's asked. 
  • Every offensive lineman will be asked about practicing without Williams. 
  • Every defensive lineman will be asked about practicing without Williams.

Get the picture? The Williams sideshow will take over training camp, in a way that even a QB battle cannot supersede. That's perhaps the craziest part about this Redskins camp in Richmond - all eyes should be on Dwayne Haskins battling it out against Case Keenum. Instead, for Redskins fans, one eye will remain on Instagram for the latest subtle update from the Williams' camp. 

Can it end? Will it end? Only Williams knows those answers. Maybe Bruce Allen too. Allen did explain that he knows the truth of the situation when asked about the Williams holdout last month. 

If Williams demands major changes to the Redskins medical staff, that seems unlikely. If Williams demands major changes to his existing contract, that has two years and nearly $30 million remaining, that seems unlikely. 

But could a deal be worked out? Washington fans should hope so.

Maybe the team can increase the guaranteed portion of cash in 2020, when his salary is high but the guarantees are minimal. Additionally, maybe team owner Dan Snyder can broker some sort of clear-the-air meeting between Williams and the medical side. Snyder is close with Williams and this could be a spot to positively wield his influence. 

It's entirely possible Williams is back before Week 1 in Philadelphia, maybe even likely, But that game isn't for more than six weeks. Williams knows all this, knows this is his best spot for leverage. The Redskins are thin at tackle depth and have nobody close to replacing his level of play. This holdout could certainly stretch into the middle of the preseason, and perhaps longer. 

Whatever happens know this: Williams' holding out of training camp is a big deal, and it will be a distraction. 

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Report: NFL proposed a potential 35% pay cut for players to offset losses from coronavirus pandemic

Report: NFL proposed a potential 35% pay cut for players to offset losses from coronavirus pandemic

The NFL is doing whatever it can to limit the potential financial losses for the 2020 season, which will be directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The league has proposed that 35% of each player's salary is held as a way to eschew costs for the lost revenue the league may face due to the pandemic, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero,

As expected, the idea did not sit well with many of the league's players.

Several players across the NFL, such as Saints star wideout Michael Thomas and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, laughed at the idea on Twitter.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus, who represents numerous clients across the league, called the proposal an "absurd ask by the NFL."

Detroit Lions cornerback Jamal Agnew simply said, "no thank you."

A labor war in the NFL could begin just days after Major League Baseball and its players association ended an ugly fight with a commissioner-imposed 60-game season. The NFL will hope to avoid any type of back-and-forth the MLB underwent this summer, which ultimately cost the league numerous games in 2020.

RELATED: NFLPA VOTES TO CUT PRESEASON GAMES FOR 2020

Even if players' salaries are not ultimately held and business goes on as usual, the NFL will look significantly different this fall.

It's still uncertain whether fans will be allowed to attend games, and the league has already announced that the first six to eight rows of each lower bowl section will be blocked off from fans to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Additionally, the preseason has already been reduced to two games, with the potential of it being canceled altogether.

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Stefon Diggs is unsure about the NFL starting up with 'so many unanswered questions'

Stefon Diggs is unsure about the NFL starting up with 'so many unanswered questions'

On Tuesday, Cleveland Browns center and NFLPA president J.C. Tretter penned a letter questioning if the NFL is truly prioritizing player safety in its return to work plan, which is expected to begin with training camp at the end of the month.

Hours later, Buffalo Bills wide receiver and former Maryland Terrapin standout Stefon Diggs voiced similar concerns on Twitter, stating "I’d be lying if I said I was comfortable starting back up."

Earlier in the day, he tweeted that he missed football and that he loves the sport.

If and when the NFL does resume this fall, games will be played without fans in some stadiums. Diggs mentioned that it would be "weird" to play in front of an empty stadium, something he's never done before at any level of football.

Even if there are fans at NFL games this fall, they will be away from the playing field. The league has already announced that the first 6-8 rows of each lower bowl section will be blocked off from fans to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Instead, those sections will be covered with advertisements, similarly to how the Premier League has done during its restart.

Training camp is set to being on July 28, around the same time both the MLB and NBA will begin/resume their respective seasons. With live-action just a few weeks away, we've seen multiple players across both sports opt-out from playing, including Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman and Wizards sharpshooter Davis Bertans.

As the NFL season begins to get closer, it's likely only a matter of time before a few players opt-out, too.

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