Washington could have traded Trent Williams for a first-round pick last year, but 'deal was never done'

Frank Schwab
·3 min read

There are countless stories that explain why the Washington Redskins are a perennial losing franchise, and we can add the botched trade of Trent Williams last year.

The Redskins did move Williams to the San Francisco 49ers for a third-round pick in 2021 and fifth-round pick in this year’s draft. But they could have gotten a first-round pick last year for the disgruntled tackle and the trade wasn’t made. New coach Ron Rivera told that story.

To sum up: The Redskins were offered a first-round pick last year for a player who said he would never play for the team again, and Washington — which was 1-7 at the trade deadline — didn’t get a deal done. Williams never did play for Washington again, and the Redskins didn’t get that first-round pick.

Amazing. Though, if you have been paying attention to the Redskins this century, it fits.

Ron Rivera: Redskins were offered first for Trent Williams last year

Appearing with host Kevin Sheehan on The Team 980, Rivera said Washington had a chance to get a first-round pick for Williams last year.

“I know this much, there was an opportunity from what I was told last year just before the trade deadline, he was worth a first-round pick but for whatever reason the deal was never done,” Rivera said. “Because he didn't play for the entire year, that number changed.”

A one-win rebuilding team couldn’t finish a deal to get a first-round pick for a 31-year-old tackle who, due to a medical misdiagnosis, promised he wouldn’t play for them again. That’s astounding.

Now you get an idea of the mess Rivera has to clean up as he takes over the Redskins.

New Redskins coach Ron Rivera is inheriting a mess in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
New Redskins coach Ron Rivera is inheriting a mess in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Rivera has a lot of work to do

Rivera had a conundrum. Williams wanted a trade and there was pressure to do so. Washington didn’t have much leverage after Williams was out all last season, first as a holdout and then on injured reserve.

“You don’t give away good players, that’s just the way it is,” Rivera told Sheehan.

They tried to get fair value, and the best they could do was a third next year and a fifth. That’s a far, far cry from a first, but at least they got something.

“We weren’t going to give him away in a yard sale,” Rivera said. “We held out for the right deal.”

That’s a happy face on a bargain trade for a seven-time Pro Bowler, but you can’t blame Rivera. It’s not his fault. He didn’t get the job until January. He did the best he could in the Williams situation.

Presumably, Rivera found a lot of messes he didn’t create when he took the Redskins job. He has a long challenge ahead.

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