Redskins head coach Jay Gruden says he “would seriously doubt” the team is entertaining a potential trade for seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, who is currently holding out from training camp without a new contract. However, with Williams apparently dug in and extremely unhappy with the franchise, a trade must remain a possibility if another team makes a good offer. These five teams could be most interested in making a major upgrade on their offensive line by acquiring Williams.
New York Jets
New Jets general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Adam Gase want to win the game up front in the trenches, and they also obviously want to protect franchise quarterback Sam Darnold’s blindside. The Jets currently have a capable veteran in Kelvin Beachum at left tackle, and they have third-round pick Chuma Edoga waiting in the wings, but adding Williams would allow Beachum to slide over to the right side, upgrading two spots with one move while adding arguably the best left tackle in the league to protect Darnold. After the Jets already traded for left guard Kelechi Osemele during the offseason and convinced center Ryan Kalil to come out of retirement and join them, adding Williams to the mix would give them one of the best left sides of the offensive line in football.
The Texans don’t currently have a general manager, so head coach Bill O’Brien will likely have a big say on any key moves the team makes in 2019, and watching his team up close during practice every day will help him determine how much of a need he thinks left tackle is. The offensive line has been a clear area of weakness for the team in recent years, and—like any quarterback—Deshaun Watson would be more comfortable in the pocket with better protection. Williams would bring that as the foundation piece on the offensive line complementing star players on both sides of the ball, and his presence would allow the team to take things slow with raw first-round pick Tytus Howard. Houston has the cap space to give Williams a raise, and they have all their future draft picks to make a deal with Washington.
Like Deshaun Watson for the Texans, Kyler Murray has the superb athletic ability to get out of trouble and avoid pass rushers; however, counting on having your quarterback evade pressure could be a recipe for disaster, especially for someone undersized like Murray. Arizona can make the Heisman Trophy winner’s transition to the NFL much easier if they add Williams to his blindside. The Cardinals might be able to include current left tackle D.J. Humphries and a third-round draft pick in a trade to the Redskins for Williams
The Vikings revamped their offensive line in the offseason, including the addition of first-round pick Garrett Bradbury to man the center position and sure-up the interior. Veteran Riley Reiff is slated as the team’s left tackle, but Minnesota might feel the time is now to take advantage of all their elite talent on defense and go all-in for a Super Bowl this season. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has been unafraid to make a huge trade if he thinks it’ll help his team (like the Sam Bradford trade in 2016), and adding a player of Williams’ caliber would undoubtedly give perhaps the weakest link of the team (the offensive line) a boost.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers are in pretty good shape on the offensive line, but they have a prime opportunity to make a run with a stacked team led by potential future Hall of Fame quarterback Philip Rivers at 37 years old. Left tackle Russell Okung’s pulmonary embolism unfortunately has his Week 1 status in doubt, but the team might be able to make it work with Williams when Okung is back. And, as always, injuries unfortunately strike in August, so the Chargers and many other teams could be in more need for offensive line help closer to the season.