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While Redskins say they won't trade him, 3 teams in active pursuit of Trent Williams, per source

While Redskins say they won't trade him, 3 teams in active pursuit of Trent Williams, per source

The Redskins declared zero intention of trading Trent Williams, but that doesn't mean other teams aren't trying.

Sources tell NBC Sports Washington that three teams have been actively pursuing the seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle, and while no deal is imminent, the calls aren't stopping. One of those teams is the New England Patriots, sources explained, and most of the heavy chasing of Williams is coming from AFC teams. 

The news comes as Williams' holdout has now extended past the team's two-week training camp in Richmond and he missed the team's first preseason game last week in Cleveland. There is no indication Williams intends to report anytime soon and that could include missing regular season games, multiple sources close to Williams told NBCSW last week.

Those close to Williams say his issues with the Redskins run far beyond money, while those close to the team believe cash is the root issue. Williams is due nearly $25 million during the next two seasons, the last two years on a five-year, $66 million contract extension he signed in 2015. Neither 2019 or 2020 holds much guaranteed cash either.  

On Monday night, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Redskins have gotten calls about Williams but maintain they will not move their franchise cornerstone. On the other hand, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora tweeted out "Trent Williams will be traded. Only a matter of time."

The reality probably lands somewhere in the middle.

Of course, the Redskins will publicly state their utmost reluctance to move on from Williams. Of course they will. Jay Gruden did just that in Richmond, when he said he "highly doubts" the team would trade Williams.

What else are they supposed to say? Trading Williams seems crazy, a move that only a desperate team would make, a move that a team would only make if it truly believes that player won't report. And the second team president Bruce Allen and the Redskins blink and allow that Williams might actually not come back, their bargaining power shrinks. Not to mention, Williams is still under contract for two more seasons. 

Just to consider moving Williams means Washington believes he really won't come back, or if he does, will no longer be an asset to the team. It's hard to envision a scenario where Allen does much to entice Williams to report. Perhaps the Redskins could convert some 2020 salary to guaranteed money right now, but Allen has made a stern policy of not working on new contracts until a player is in the final year of his deal. Williams isn't. And a new deal seems out of the question, for as good as Williams is, it might not be the prudent move. He is 31 and hasn't played a full season since 2013.

To move Williams, the Redskins need to command a haul in return. To do that, the team needs leverage and multiple suitors. By refusing to trade Williams now the team builds some leverage. They don't look desperate to move him. There are already multiple suitors, including New England, which was first reported nearly two weeks ago by The Athletic. 

Peter King pointed out on Monday that the Texans should make a move for Williams: "I think the Texans need to trade for Washington left tackle Trent Williams, who is unhappy in Washington and threatening to not play this year. Houston’s time is now. Watt turns 30 this year. So much of this team is in its prime. They could get three or four more years out of Williams, who turns 31 next Monday, and he’d strengthen the only true weak point of this team."

There is also no rush for Washington to move Williams. Injuries will happen across the NFL during the next few weeks and a contending team could lose a tackle. That would drive the price up too. 

"We won't get to Labor Day and Trent Williams is still a Redskin," one league source said of the situation.

Remember too that Allen often does his best work in secret. Last year, he shocked the NFL when the trade for Alex Smith went down during Super Bowl week. In fact, Doug Williams and Jay Gruden both admitted after that trade they knew nothing about the move until after it happened.

Allen also tends to work well with familiar teams. In the past few seasons, Allen has worked out two trades with Denver, one sending Su'a Cravens out of town in 2018 and another bringing Case Keenum into town in 2019. The Smith trade isn't the first deal Allen completed with Kansas City boss Andy Reid either. When Reid was the coach of the Eagles, Allen completed a deal to bring Donovan McNabb to Washington in 2010. 

Real or contrived, the Redskins gain nothing by openly talking about a Williams trade right now. But that doesn't mean a move couldn't happen in the next few weeks.


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Clinton Portis among group of NFL players charged by Justice Department with defrauding NFL health care program

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Clinton Portis among group of NFL players charged by Justice Department with defrauding NFL health care program

The Justice Department charged Clinton Portis and nine other former NFL players with defrauding a health care program for retired players.

The news broke Thursday morning when the Eastern District of Kentucky alleged that the retired players submitted fraudulent claims for medical equipment costing between $40,000-50,000 to the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan. 

Former Redskins cornerback and first-round pick Carlos Rogers is also charged along with Robert McCune, John Eubanks, Tamarick Vanover, Ceandris Brown, James Butler, Frederick Bennett, Correll Buckhalter and Etric Pruitt. Joe Horn and Reche Caldwell are also expected to be charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Portis' attorney Mark Dycio said of the charges (via The Washington Post): "Clinton Portis had no knowledge that his participation in what he believed to be an NFL sanctioned medical reimbursement program was illegal. He is completely taken aback by this indictment and will move forward with the process of clearing his good name and those of his fellow NFL alumni."

According to the indictment, the claims filed between June 2017 and December 2018 totaled $3.9 million and the health care plan paid out more than $3.4 million.

Portis played seven years for the Redskins from 2004 to 2010, rushing for nearly 7,000 yards and 46 touchdowns. He remains a fan favorite and currently works for the Redskins Broadcast Network. 

A Redskins spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. 

Stay tuned as this is a developing story. 


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The Redskins' offense has been bad all year, but they're atrocious on opening drives

The Redskins' offense has been bad all year, but they're atrocious on opening drives

No matter how you break it down — by quarter, by month, by time of day, by location, by whether the opponent has an animal mascot or a human mascot — the numbers show that the Redskins have a really ineffective offense. Currently, they're last in the NFL in points per game and yards per game.

They're bad all the time, honestly.

However, they're downright atrocious when it comes to their opening drives.

In Week 1 against the Eagles, the Redskins scored a touchdown on their opening possession. It was fun. The players had fun. The fans had fun. Everybody had fun.

But since then, they haven't notched a single TD on a first drive. In fact, they haven't converted a field goal, either.

Overall, in their 13 game-opening possessions on the year, Washington has that single end zone trip to go along with a missed kick, seven punts, two fumbles and two interceptions (one of which was taken back for a score).

What's the opposite of coming out hot? The 2019 Redskins' offense.

"I'm tired of the slow starts, our guys are, too," Bill Callahan said Wednesday. "That's the goal of the first drive of the game — try to jump ahead, get ahead, find a way to get on the board early. We haven't succeeded at that." 

The issue is registering with Dwayne Haskins, too. So, what can they possibly do to try to improve?

"Just trying to figure out a way we can move the ball early, not getting behind the chains, finding lanes and getting the ball out fast," the quarterback said. "It helps our defense when we come off fast and move the ball down the field and not put them in a tough scenario with having a short field."

Many have complained about the offense's run-first approach being too predictable under Callahan, and that's something that could be plaguing them at the beginning of their contests. Since he took over as interim coach, for example, the offense has run the ball on their first snap in six-of-eight matchups, including four-out-of-five with Haskins under center.

Of course, this is an area where Jay Gruden struggled as well, but his tendencies weren't as obvious. Plus, and yes, this is minutiae now, he did call two play-action shots in Weeks 2 and 4 that schemed up wide-open receivers that Case Keenum simply missed. He was also in charge for that lone touchdown in Philly.

The most obvious explanation for the problem, however, is one that can explain a lot of things this season: an overall lack of talent. As mentioned at the start of the story, it's not like the offense gets into a rhythm at any point, so their numbers will be underwhelming in any situation or sample.

That said, even with an inexperienced and undermanned group, there should be more production than one TD in 13 chances. Callahan told the media that "we put a lot of thought, focus and concentration" into the early-game plan. Clearly, it's not paying off.

In many ways, the Redskins have fallen behind the rest of the NFL over the past few months. The stats above show that, at least in one way, that's literally very true.