Nobody knows what Trent Williams is going to do. Nobody, except maybe Trent Williams.
In the weeks and months since Williams did not report to the Redskins there have been many reports and even more rumors, but never an official word or statement from the seven-time Pro Bowl tackle. That’s led to more speculation and the occasional official rebuttal from the Redskins organization, but largely it’s been guesswork.
Plenty of sources close to Williams have explained to NBC Sports Washington and others that this situation would not end before Week 1, and that his prolonged absence could last well into the regular season. So far, that’s true.
Now, a new report from Williams' former teammate DeAngelo Hall suggests Williams could be back “sooner rather than later.” That comes one day after Washington head coach Jay Gruden pronounces he’s become “numb” to the Williams situation and has no expectations when it will end.
The question, however, is when is "soon?" If Williams did change his mind and plans on rejoining the Redskins, the biggest question is why. What has changed?
These are some guesses, some educated and some just common sense, as to what might have changed. To be clear, none of these should be taken as reported fact. Let's take a look:
- He's healthy - Throughout Williams' absences this summer, his health was a major question. Williams was dealing with a growth on his head, and had at least one cosmetic surgery to clean up the scar. It was reported that Williams would not have been medically cleared for training camp, and if that was the case, why would he show up? Now, NFL Network reported that Williams is healthy and ready to go. If he's ready, maybe now is the time to return.
- He misses football and game checks - Trent Williams has played football professionally for a decade, and probably in some capacity his entire life. He's one of the 100 best players in the NFL, as voted on by his peers, and he's the best player the Redskins have. It's entirely possible he didn't want to work out in the heat of Richmond for training camp, and not deal with minicamp, but once real football starts, Williams wants to be on the field with his teammates. It also helps that he stands to make more than $600,000 per game, and if he doesn't play, he doesn't get those checks. That's not to suggest Williams needs the money, but when the options are making $600,000 or not making $600,000, most people would choose the cash.
- Bruce called his bluff - There is ample reporting to suggest Trent Williams wanted off the Redskins. There is also ample evidence from team officials that the Redskins were never going to trade Williams. Maybe the player thought the team was bluffing, and would eventually move on. That never happened, or at least it hasn't yet, and with major trades for Laremy Tunsil and Jadaveon Clowney already finished, the time for blockbuster trades might have passed. If Trent believes that, he might think his only option to play this fall is in Washington, and thus it's time to report.
- C.R.E.A.M. - Many inside the Redskins organization think Williams' holdout was about money. If it was, and now he's coming back, maybe there has been some assurance more money is coming. The Redskins have a hard rule that they won't work on contracts until the final year of a deal, but perhaps the front office told Williams that if he returns in 2019, there could be contract talks coming in January 2020. The left tackle has two seasons left on his deal, but in four short months, he will be in the final year of his contract.
- Staff change - If Trent Williams was really upset at the Redskins medical staff, maybe the organization made a staff change or a procedural change. That doesn't necessarily mean somebody got fired, but maybe personnel got reassigned or new standards have been implemented. If these types of moves happened, it's also entirely possible that news never goes public, but it could be something that means a lot to Williams.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS: