Whatever the real reason is behind Trent Williams holdout, Redskins team president Bruce Allen isn’t surprised by his left tackle's recent absence.
“I know what Trent told me so I know what the truth is," Allen said Friday. "I’ll leave my conversation with Trent between the two of us.”
Speaking after a ceremony where the Redskins rookie class met DC Mayor Muriel Bowser outside the mayor's office, Allen provided little detail about his conversations with Williams. Asked if getting the seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle back with the team was a top priority, Allen talked about the importance of all 90 Redskins players getting to Richmond for training camp.
“Trent has been a valuable player for us and that’s why we signed him to the contract he has,” Allen said.
That contract has two years remaining and will pay Williams more than $13 million this season and more than $14 million next season, but holds no guaranteed salary. However unlikely, the 'Skins could cut Williams next year and incur very little dead cap charge while saving nearly $13 million against the salary cap. Additionally, in the time since Williams signed his contract extension in 2015, salaries have exploded for offensive linemen. The highest paid linemen in the NFL is Oakland's Trent Brown, a right tackle, and he's slated to make more than $16 million this year. There is zero question Williams is a better player than Brown, along with a number of other offensive linemen that have surpassed him in annual salary.
As if a holdout from their best player wasn’t enough, a report suggested that Williams did not miss mandatory minicamp this week because of his contract. Rather, CBS reported Williams would never return to Washington because of medical treatment surrounding a non-cancerous tumor in his scalp this offseason.
Asked about the report that Williams would not return to the Redskins, Allen seemed dismissive.
"I’ve talked to Trent a few times," he said. "He’s explained some things to me and I’ll leave it at that."
Multiple league sources have suggested that while Williams might be upset with the Redskins medical staff, the holdout is related to the financial terms of his contract. One league source pointed to the holdouts of players Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown as successful attempts by veteran players to get large contracts, and as a possible reason there could be more holdouts coming in advance of a new labor agreement between the NFL Players Association and the league's owners in 2021. Last month, the NFLPA informed players and agents to save money now in preparation for a potential work stoppage in two years.
Other Redskins players seemed surprised by the claim Williams would not return to the team too. Adrian Peterson, Williams’ teammate and close friend, said that he never heard the tackle wouldn’t return to the team.
"I don’t know where that came from. I talk to Trent all the time and that’s not something I’ve heard come out his mouth," Peterson said on Wednesday.
Morgan Moses, another teammate and friend of Williams, said he appreciated the star player speaking out about medical issues.
"It’s about time someone like that stands up,” Moses said. “It’s not just a situation here. It happens throughout the league. To have one of our peers like Trent to stand up like that means a lot."
Whether or not Williams would actually refuse to play for Washington because of his medical situation remains to be seen, but head coach Jay Gruden acknowledged that Williams was not happy about his initial diagnosis.
"I know he’s frustrated. Anytime you have something done, a procedure like that, of that magnitude, you want to find the reason. You wish something maybe could’ve been done differently or different timing, but our doctors are very good. I know they did the best they can," Gruden said earlier this week.
Pressed specifically about the team's doctors, and on the heels of multiple surgeries for the same injuries on players Alex Smith, Derrius Guice and Colt McCoy, Allen again provided little information.
“We’re all frustrated with players getting injured,” he said. “They only see the doctors after players get injured.”
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