- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 5, 2020

The Washington Redskins have given left tackle Trent Williams permission to seek a trade, paving the way for a split between the seven-time Pro Bowler and the franchise, according to multiple reports.

Last week, Redskins coach Ron Rivera told reporters the team was in a “good place” with Williams, who missed all of last season over a medical dispute with the team. But in order to return, Williams told Washingon he wanted a new contract as his five-year, $66 million deal has no guaranteed money left and is set to expire after the season.

Apparently unwilling to make Williams one of the league’s highest-paid tackles, the Redskins will now allow Williams’ agent to find interested teams to help facilitate a deal.

The Redskins explored trading Williams last year at the trade deadline, but were unable to reach an agreement with a team. For months, the New England Patriots and the Cleveland Browns were among those rumored to be interested, though neither would meet Washington’s demands. Former Browns general manager John Dorsey said “it takes two to tango” regarding a Williams’ trade, implying the Redskins weren’t truly willing to part with Williams.

This offseason, the Redskins attempted to repair the relationship with Williams, who said in October he no longer trusted the front office. Owner Dan Snyder fired team president Bruce Allen and longtime trainer Larry Hess.

Rivera, once he was on board, tried to convince Williams to return.

Williams sat out until midseason last year, upset that, in his view, the Redskins mishandled a cancerous growth on his scalp that required surgery.

When he came back to work, the Redskins placed him on the season-ending “non-football injury list,” saying he was unable to pass a physical.

Williams, though, is reportedly healthy. Recently, Williams posted video on Instagram of him training, boxing and doing football drills.

The Redskins would have a massive hole at left tackle if they trade Williams, but could use the additional draft compensation as they look to rebuild their roster under Rivera. Washington is missing a second-round pick in this year’s draft after trading away their selection when they traded up for pass-rusher Montez Sweat last year.

Rivera told NBC Washington last week that the lack of a second-round pick was a ‘burden,” especially since it turned out to be the 34th pick in the draft.

“That’s the hard part,” Rivera said. “You wish you had all your picks.”

The Redskins could theoretically regain a second-rounder — or higher — by trading Williams. According to ESPN, the Redskins hope to get a first-round pick in exchange for Williams.

Any team dealing for Williams will likely have to give the Pro Bowler a new contract. The Oakland Raiders, for instance, gave Antonio Brown a new deal when they traded for the troubled receiver last summer, despite Brown having two years left on his deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While Williams was angry with Washington’s medical staff, he made it clear part of his holdout was related to his contract when speaking to reporters in October.

“Obviously playing with no guaranteed money, I don’t think any premier player (would) want to do that, especially not in the game we play today,” Williams said.

If Williams leaves, it’ll mark the end of a 10-year relationship. The Redskins drafted Williams fourth overall in 2010 and he emerged as one of the league’s best tackles.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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