SNIDER: Redskins make key move to entice Trent Williams' return

Rick Snider
January 06, 2020 - 11:14 am
SNIDER: Redskins make key move to entice Trent Williams' return

Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/MCT/Sipa USA

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Peace talks began in earnest on Monday between the Redskins and holdout left tackle Trent Williams.

Williams skipped the 2019 season, in part because he didn't trust president Bruce Allen and the training staff after a recent cancer scare. That, and Williams wants a contract extension.

Well, the Redskins fired Allen and the training staff and now hired Carolina Panthers head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion. The only thing left is money.

Oh, Williams once said he was never, ever returning, but then who figured on the Redskins making such major changes? You don't dismiss the last head trainer after 17 years unless it's to regain its Pro Bowl tackle to protect a young quarterback. Williams recently told ESPN he wouldn't say no for certain, given changes.

So, there's a gleam, as former Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer used to say, of Williams returning. Rivera needs to meet Williams one-on-one, something Allen didn't do, to deescalate the standoff. Tell Williams things will be different under a new staff. Put on the best recruiting pitch. If Williams still says no, then trade him and move on.

But the Redskins gained a respected trainer to erase a tarnished reputation with some players. Vermillion has 18 years' experience and the Redskins' press release even included a quote by renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews. That's a gold star endorsement.

Vermillion spent nine seasons with Miami coach Don Shula before one season in Washington. He then joined Carolina in 2002 and was named the Fain-Cain Memorial Award recipient for Outstanding NFL Trainer of the Year in 2016. In 2003, Vermillion led the training staff of the year, as voted on by his fellow NFL colleagues.

There's nothing more the Redskins can do to entice Williams other than money, and Snyder is known for paying whatever's needed. Indeed, with fiscal-conservative Allen no longer blocking Snyder's impulses, the coming offseason may include a spending spree on free agents.

The Redskins need to be wary of offering Williams a long-term deal, though. He turns 32 years old before training camp and has only played a full 16 games twice over nine seasons. Indeed, Williams missed a combined 16 games from 2014-18.

Giving Williams a four-year deal after so many injury woes is a big risk, but maybe missing one year will rejuvenate him and prolong his career. It's a gamble and an expensive one.

Williams' line in the sand has been washed away by a tide of change rolling through Ashburn. Is it enough?

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks

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