Trent Williams wants out of Washington, and has for more than a year. The difference now is that new coach Ron Rivera is allowing Williams to work with other teams towards a new contract, and ideally, figure out how to get a deal done.
So far that hasn't bared any results but the NFL Draft still seems like the most likely time for a Williams trade to emerge. Why the draft? If nothing else then because talent evaluators will look at the tackle prospects available, and once the best four are taken, the evaluators will remember just how much better Williams is than any of the potential rookie options.
The issue is where Williams can get traded. NBC Sports' Peter King said a trade to the Jets or Seahawks could make sense, but ESPN reporter Bill Barnwell projected a trade with the Minnesota Vikings.
In that scenario, the Vikings actually pull off a three-way trade scenario with the Redskins and the Chargers. Read more about it here, but what's important for Washington is the compensation for the seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle.
For sending Williams to Minnesota, Barnwell gives the Redskins a pair of fourth-round picks, a fifth-round pick and Vikings left tackle Riley Reiff in return. One more time, more clearly, Williams turns into the 112th, 132nd, 151st picks and Reiff.
Sources told NBC Sports Washington that the Redskins will work with teams towards a creative compensation package to trade Williams as long as the total compensation gets to a second-round value. Based on the traditional draft value chart, an average second-round pick carries a value of 420 points. The picks that Minnesota would be sending to Washington in this trade combine for a total of 140 points. That difference of nearly 300 points would be offset by Reiff.
Here are the point values using the classic Jimmy Johnson draft value chart:
Average value for 2nd round pick - 420 points
112th pick - 70
132nd pick - 40
151st pick - 30
Total combined point value in trade - 140 points
From Barnwell: "Washington fans probably aren't thrilled with this return for their star left tackle, but the market they were hoping to see for Williams hasn't developed. The team gets three midround picks and a competent left tackle in Reiff, who has two years and $22.8 million remaining on his deal."
So in this scenario, the Redskins lose Williams, one of the best left tackles in football, for an obviously inferior player and a package of Day 3 draft picks. Not great.
Reiff is under contract for two seasons and will carry a cap hit of more than $13 million per season. The team could release Reiff and clear cap space, but this season it's not a big savings. In 2021, that number jumps to nearly $12 million in cap savings. In some ways trading for Reiff on his current contract could turn into an NBA-style contract dump, creating even more cap space for the Redskins next year.
In 2020, Reiff would look like the Redskins starter at left tackle, mostly out of default considering the other players on the roster. A first-round pick in 2012, the durable Reiff has started at least 13 games in each of the past seven years. His game is described by those close to the Vikings as average, but average is better than bad.
Washington will certainly hope to do better than Reiff and a bunch of Day 3 picks for Williams, but this trade would give the Redskins four fourth-round draft picks. That's a sizable load, and could allow Washington to maneuver elsewhere in the draft, including possibly getting back into the second-round where the team currently has no picks.
Team sources have been adamant that the organization will not give away Williams in a trade for less than he's worth. This trade would push that envelope, and much would hinge on evaluations of Reiff. In the end, the Redskins would get a new starting left tackle and three additional draft picks. Not bad, but not great.
The big question will be if a great trade option emerges next week, or even a good one. So far it hasn't.
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