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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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Three non-Derrius Guice items Ron Rivera discussed Monday that you should know about

Three non-Derrius Guice items Ron Rivera discussed Monday that you should know about

Ron Rivera's Monday presser with the media was dominated by questions regarding Derrius Guice.

However, the coach did touch on other key topics that are also worth reporting on now that the ex-Washington running back's situation has largely been addressed.

So, here are three non-Guice related things Rivera discussed on Zoom, all of which fans should know about.

1) We may be discounting someone in the backfield

How does Guice's dismissal impact Bryce Love and Antonio Gibson? Is Adrian Peterson going to lead the offense in rushing for a third year in a row?

Those are the kinds of conversations that are happening about the running back depth chart now that Guice is no longer a part of it, but Rivera wants one more name to be included.

"Don’t forget Peyton Barber," he said, bringing up the free agent signing unprompted. 

Barber's career stats — 3.6 yards per carry in 63 games — are uninspiring on their own and have caused most to ignore him even after Guice's departure.

Rivera, however, made the move to acquire Barber in March at a time when the group seemed completely set and is making a point to mention him to reporters as well. If the franchise's main decision maker cares that much about the veteran, perhaps others should as well.


2) The team is really enticed by Reuben Foster

Rivera was fairly asked on Monday why Foster has a place on Washington's roster but Guice doesn't, and you can find his answer here

As for how much Foster can contribute football-wise in 2020 after coming off the PUP list, Rivera sounded quite optimistic.

"He can be a very big asset, just because of his ability to make plays, his explosiveness as a football player," he said.

Rivera then compared Foster's comeback to that of Jaylon Smith, the Cowboys' impressive linebacker. Smith suffered an injury in college that was very similar to the one Foster experienced last May, but Smith has since worked himself into shape and is celebrating his first Pro Bowl selection.

Rivera believes his defender can follow that kind of path.

"That’s what we’re hoping for, is an opportunity for Reuben to get back on the field and prove that he’s back," he said.

3) Rivera's emphasizing practice speed

The media will head out to Ashburn and watch training camp for the first time this Thursday. So, one member asked Rivera what he would like to most stand out to outsiders who do attend his team's upcoming camp sessions.

He didn't need to think long for a response.

“The biggest thing is I want you to see tempo," Rivera said. "I want [reporters] to be able to say, ‘Man, they practice fast. Man, they move from one drill to the other.’ To me, that’s one of the things that you have to do, is play with up-tempo. The only way to do that is practice with an up-tempo. You’ve got to be able to understand how things have to be done."

As Rivera explained, that speed is even more critical this year without the preseason. In fact, the coach actually wants someone to let him know if the energy doesn't seem to be up where it should be.

"We’ve got to practice at an up-tempo every opportunity we get, and that’s what I hope [reporters] see," Rivera said. "If [they] don’t, let me know because that’s something we need to get corrected."

Here's an advanced "good luck" to the first person who actually tries to tell Rivera how to run his workouts. You're going to need it.


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Dwayne Haskins believes he gives Washington best chance to win, even if Alex Smith can play

Dwayne Haskins believes he gives Washington best chance to win, even if Alex Smith can play

While many expect Dwayne Haskins to be Washington's quarterback in Week 1, head coach Ron Rivera has yet to formally name a starting quarterback and has preached "pure competition" between Haskins and Kyle Allen.

The battle for the job has the potential to take an interesting twist in the coming weeks if veteran Alex Smith is able to return from the active/PUP list. In a media session with local reporters on Monday, Rivera said Smith is "going to be in the throes of this competition" if he's able to return.

However, even if Smith is healthy enough to compete for the starting job, Haskins believes he's the best man for the job. 

"All respect for everyone in that room, but I feel like I give us the best opportunity," Haskins told Julie Donaldson, Washington's Senior VP of Media and Content. "I look forward to showing it."


Haskins had his growing pains as a rookie but really started to show flashes of his potential towards the end of the season before an ankle injury prematurely ended his first season as a pro. Over his final six quarters, Haskins finished with 394 passing yards on a 72 percent completion rate with four touchdowns and zero turnovers. 

Since Rivera took over as head coach in January, he's challenged Haskins to take command of the job, and the quarterback has responded. Haskins has dropped close to 20 pounds this offseason and said he is in the best shape of his life. He's spent the bulk of his offseason training and learning from numerous NFL stars, most notably Deshaun Watson, Cam Newton and Odell Beckham Jr.

Although Rivera has yet to name Haskins the starter, he's taken notice of the 23-year-old's progress and has publicly praised him for it. In a media session last week, several comments the head coach made sounded as if he was ready to move in the direction with Haskins as QB1.

While Haskins and Smith may be directly competing with one another, the two have a strong relationship.

Haskins has said multiple times how much of a help Smith was to him as a rookie. On Monday, Haskins said he looks at Smith as a "mentor" to him.

"He's a great teammate," Haskins said. "Somebody in the meeting room that we look for answers and questions and everything he's been through in his long tenure as a professional quarterback in the NFL. He's someone I kind of look to as a mentor in that sense."


Smith's journey is remarkable, and the fact that he's even close to playing after suffering the gruesome leg injury he had in November 2018 is already impressive enough within itself. And of the three quarterbacks, Smith is by far the most proven and experienced.

But Washington is currently in a rebuild, and Rivera has said multiple times that the 2020 season will be crucial in determining who he sees as core players on his roster. So, starting a 35-year-old Smith over Haskins, a second-year player who the team invested a first-round pick in just one year ago, wouldn't make much sense.

Yet, if Smith does end up being healthy enough to compete for the job, Haskins is ready to embrace the challenge.

"I'm extremely happy and excited for Alex. Having watched him train last year and him just getting into the position to try and play this year...I can tell how much work he's put in," Haskins said. "I'm excited for him. Hopefully he gets back to where he needs to be, and I look forward to competing with him and everything of that nature."

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