The Redskins will have to figure out a way to get along without one of their best players for one of their toughest stretches of the season.
There never would be a good time to have Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams on the sideline but the Redskins will be without him for their games at home against the Vikings and Packers and on the road in Dallas and Arizona. Minnesota, Green Bay, and the Cardinals made the playoffs last year while the Cowboys currently sit atop the NFC East with a 6-1 record.
Williams’ replacement will be second-year player Ty Nsekhe. He has played well when asked, particularly last year against the Jets when he filled in for an injured Williams. But it is one thing to get the job done in spot duty, quite another to be effective over multiple games as other teams get more film on you and can find weaknesses they can exploit.
The team presumably will sign another tackle to serve as a backup while Williams is out. A potential pitfall here is that Nsekhe backed up both tackle spots. Morgan Moses has missed a few stretches of games with various injuries, including an ankle sprain Sunday against the Lions. A tackle brought in off the street could turn into the weak link on the line if Moses is sidelined.
Williams has been suspended before, missing the last four games of the 2011 season after testing positive for marijuana. Since then he has become a team captain and he often talks about wanting to set the tone for the team. This suspension will do some degree of damage to his credibility in the locker room.
He will take a hit in the wallet, although in view of his overall contract won’t be that severe. He will lose the prorated portion of his 2016 base salary of $6.75 million, which comes to around $1.59 million. That’s a small portion of the five-year, $66 million extension he signed before the 2015 season.
Some contracts call for all guarantees to be voided if the player is suspended. Williams’ deal may or may not have such a provision but it really doesn’t matter. Most of his guaranteed money has been paid. And it only makes a difference if the team would want to move on from Williams in the next year or so but that seems very unlikely.