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What made the Trent Williams trade so complicated, according to Kyle Smith

What made the Trent Williams trade so complicated, according to Kyle Smith

Hollywood makes plenty of movies about football, but they almost always center them around the quarterback. Left tackles don't often get movies, but if one ever gets made, it should be about the Trent Williams saga. 

Williams sat out the entire 2019 season instead of playing for the Redskins, losing more than $12 million in the process, before finally getting traded on Saturday to the San Francisco 49ers. An elite talent at one of the most important positions on the football field, Williams netted Washington just a third and fifth-round pick in return. And the third rounder is of no use for 2020.  


New Redskins VP of Player Personnel Kyle Smith tried to explain when speaking to reporters on Saturday night. 

"Trent Williams is a first-round value, that's what he is. That's what the tape tells you. That's what everybody knows," Smith. "His circumstance and everything that has gone into this for two years or whatever it's been, that's what's devalued him." 

Smith told no lies.

One of the best tackles in football, Williams' holdout and the clumsy handling of his departure from Washington all contributed to the relatively low value the Redskins got in the trade. It also doesn't help that Williams will be 32 when the season starts, has only one year remaining on his current contract and hasn't played a full 16-game season since 2013. 


To be crystal clear: Williams is an elite talent.

Unfortunately for the Redskins, this situation was anything but crystal clear. 

Williams sat out the 2019 season because he didn't trust management and didn't trust the Washington medical staff. Well, management and the medical staff got fired. Still, Williams wanted out, and his agent Vincent Taylor even proceeded to publicly question if the Redskins were acting in good faith to trade him. 

Ron Rivera is the new boss of the Redskins. Ask around the NFL and Rivera is a high-character man. The safe guess is Taylor's accusation didn't sit well.

So the Redskins made their move, traded Williams for the best offer they could, and seem very ready to move forward. 

"For the Washington Redskins, what we got with a fifth and a third, we're happy with what we got," Smith said. "And it's time to move on and we're ready to move forward."

In fact, for many Redskins fans, it seemed the Williams saga went from unfortunate to distraction, and then, to a downright annoyance. 

"I can't wait, personally, to stop talking about it, " Smith said. "I can't wait to stop hearing about it and I've been here for a while." 

The compensation is what it is, but for most people involved, there is real relief that it's over. 

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Making a case for Red Tails as Washington Football Team's new name

Making a case for Red Tails as Washington Football Team's new name

It's been several weeks since the Washington Football Team announced it was retiring its former name and logo after more than 80 years. Ever since FedEx became the first known sponsor to formally ask Washington to change its name, fans have taken to social media to voice some of their favorites among potential replacements. I spoke with several marketing experts about a few of the fan-generated names, and will use their responses to make a case for some of the most popular suggestions. This is the case for Red Tails.

Case for: Washington Red Tails

“Red Tails” might’ve been the favorite among fans and others on social media before the “Red Wolves” hype train started gaining traction.

The origin of the name comes from the Tuskegee Airmen, the first Black pilots in the United States military. A group of Tuskegee Airmen known as the Red Tails -- because of the paint on the tails of their planes -- made up the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II. The Red Tails had one of the lowest loss records of all escort fighter groups.


Brad Nierenberg, CEO of RedPeg Marketing, an Alexandria, Virginia-based marketing agency, thinks the history of the Red Tails provides an opportunity for Washington to attach itself to a powerful story, particularly in a time where conversations about social justice have been amplified.

“The Red Tails is an incredible opportunity for [Washington]," Nierenberg said. "I don’t know of it as a major team name. I think that it allows them at this time to take a leadership role in this time of changing of understanding of social justice. And I think that their recognition of the Red Tails could be a dramatic, great first step for them as a brand that I think is overcoming… there’s a great story behind it. They can run with that story that already exists.

"And at the time to actually capitalize on this, you can get a lot of wind beneath your wings on that one. I think there’s a lot of energy there with society. I think this town would wrap their arms around it. As a company and as a team, as an ownership group, recognizing this incredible story could be powerful forever. And it’s a fighter group, it’s a fighter, it’s an overcoming odds -- there’s a tremendous story there, and I think that with today’s society doing what it is, I think it could be an incredible time for them to take advantage of this groundswell of energy. And it’s not going backwards, it’s only going forward, so I think they could be in a very positive position.”


Additionally, the Red Tails name allows the team to maintain its "warrior" ethos, according to Matt White, president of the marketing and ad agency WHITE64. White also likes that the name provides the opportunity for Washington to stick with its traditional burgundy and gold color scheme. 

"Graphically, the [old] logo on the helmet had the feathers. So you could certainly see how that could be very consistent," White said. "And certainly with the colors of the uniform."


Most marketing experts have stressed the advantages of a team's name drawing a connection to the city it plays in. While Red Tails doesn't immediately evoke thoughts of Washington, Tim Derdenger, assoicate professor of marketing and strategy at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business, thinks there's a strong enough connection for it to work.

"It’s a strong choice for multiple reasons. One being that it relates to D.C. and the military," Derdenger said. "It keeps the team colors. If you keep 'red' in [the name], it has to be the right name. And I think Red Tails is one of those right names. It has a strong connection to the city, to the military, the colors, it still can pay homage to the team, the players of the past with keeping the 'red' name in there. It should be a strong candidate.”

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Redspears or not these uniform designs are a great option for Washington

Redspears or not these uniform designs are a great option for Washington

When looking at the endless amounts of fan concepts and designs out there for the Washington Football Team's next name and logo, it's important to remember that not every idea belongs to the name suggestion of the designer. 

Once Washington makes its final decision, you can bet they'll be looking at a number of different options, and if they want to take a look at the fans' work, they could take a Red Wolves logo and match it up with a Red Tails uniform concept and tweak both to match whatever name they choose. 

In that case, whatever name and logo they choose should have these uniforms, plain and simple. 


Mike Joseph created these uniforms as part of his Washington Redspears project and did an exceptional job mocking up a number of different modern uniform designs.


Redspears isn't a likely name change due to reports saying the franchise plans to stay away from Native American imagery, but that doesn't mean we should ignore these designs.


These use the burgundy and gold really well and have a unique number font that has worked for NFL teams like the Ravens, Broncos, Bears, Titans and Steelers in the past. 

The great part about this design is it could be easily rebranded to a different. All the franchise would have to do is lose the spear logo and use whatever logo they settle upon. They could even keep the numbers on the helmet as they have currently. Everything else is versatile. 

Between the sleek design, use of colors and the unique number fonts, this has to be one of, if not the best fan-generated uniform mock-up out there. If the Washington Football team uses these but with a different team name and logo, it'd be hard to complain about that decision. 


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