Ron Rivera already proved he can be decisive. It happened quickly, if there was a question, when Rivera released veterans Josh Norman and Paul Richardson last week.
Being honest though, considering the salaries and the production, those decisions were easy. What to do with Trent Williams isn't.
The Redskins seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle didn't play a snap in 2019, holding out from the organization due to medical concerns and a lack of trust with the team's leadership. Well, Rivera overhauled the medical staff and Bruce Allen is gone, so two of Williams' concerns have been removed.
Still, guaranteed money remains. And it's not an easy answer.
Williams stands to make about $15 million this season, but none of it is guaranteed. That means if an injury happens, and Williams will turn 32 in July, Washington could get out of paying anything, which is unacceptable to the tackle.
The good news is Rivera has made progress with Williams; the men have talked and an in-person meeting could be in the works.
The options going forward, however, aren't as simple.
Could Williams come back and just play on his 2020 contract? Sure, but without additional guarantees, don't expect it.
Could Williams get a new deal, an extension, or more guarantees for this year? Sure, but Rivera might hesitate. Williams hasn't played a full 16-game season since 2013 and has battled a bevy of injuries. Does it make sense to extend a 32-year-old tackle, even one as good as Williams? That's not an easy answer when the salary would probably be at least $15 million a season.
Could Williams get traded? Sure, but Washington will never get equal value back on Williams.
The Redskins made a dramatic mistake last year by not trading Williams when it was obvious his holdout was very serious. Washington could have dealt a Pro Bowl left tackle with two years left on his contract to a number of desperate teams. The Browns publicly admitted they wanted Williams and former Redskins team president Bruce Allen wouldn't take the call. Even six weeks into the year when Williams had not reported, Allen refused to talk about a trade.
With one year left on his deal, Williams' trade value has changed. He might not command a first-round pick, and without a first-rounder, is it really worth trading a Pro Bowler?
Rivera comes to Washington with an outstanding reputation for dealing with players. His best play with Williams might be to simply level with the player that felt mistreated.
The Redskins need Williams back on the field to protect young quarterback Dwayne Haskins and revitalize their run game. Williams is one of, if not the, best tackles in football. The team is better with him suited up on Sundays.
How to get it done is tricky, but perhaps Rivera can offer more guarantees this year to get Williams back in the building. From there, maybe an extension is possible. Or maybe not.
Washington can't look at Williams' situation in simple terms. The team needs to show a commitment to their best players and fixing previously screwed up situations. That would show a real change in the organization.
Whatever happens - even if it is a trade - Rivera made real progress by simply engaging Williams. Ideally, there is a real fix on the horizon, but if nothing else, the Redskins can't allow the Williams situation to drag out for the whole 2020 season and be a dark cloud over the team like it was in 2019.
It appears that is already on a better plane than last year.
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