Trent Williams has been one of the NFL’s premier left tackles for the past nine seasons. Since entering the league in 2010, Williams has made seven Pro Bowls and has been one of the more consistent starters for the Washington Redskins.
Now entering his tenth season, Williams is at the center of offseason drama within the organization. Williams has yet to show up to training camp. Because of his absence, talk about a contract holdout was quickly revealed as the basis for that decision.
At first, the contract situation makes some sense, but there are now reports surfacing that it’s an entirely separate issue altogether. Former player, DeAngelo Hall stated on NFL Network that Washington Redskins offensive lineman, Trent Williams is upset with the franchise’s medical staff.
With the regular season only a couple of weeks away, rumor has it that the veteran left tackle may be seeking a trade. The Redskins are claiming no such thing. However, neither did the Raiders at this point last year when it came to Khalil Mack.
The question becomes, what is Williams worth? Is he worth a first-round pick at this point in career? When healthy, the film displays a player that still has a lot left in the tank.
Williams is one of the best all-around left tackles in the game. His athleticism suits him for both gap and zone schemes. He’s also useful in getting to the second level and has the power to move defenders with ease as he creates running lanes for his teammates.
On this play, The Redskins are in 11 personnel with Alex Smith under center with a bunch formation to his right. The Redskins fake a variation of the jet sweep and run a toss opposite the motion. The offensive linemen reach and run to their left as the runner gets to the outside.
As soon as Williams gets into space, he looks like that of a tight end rumbling down the field. The athleticism is on full display, and he destroys Janoris Jenkins with his power. Notice before the main block how he has the wherewithal to get a hand on the outside backer to slow him slightly. With the ability to get out into space with speed and agility, Williams can help any team on similar plays as well as in the screen game.
Another example is against the Cowboys in week seven of last year. The Redskins are again in an 11-personnel with trips to Smith’s right. On this play, the Redskins dial up a pin-pull sweep to the short side of the field.
Williams’ job on this play is to execute a down block on the three-technique defensive tackle. Though Williams doesn’t demonstrate the best technique here with hand placement, he gets the job done. He’s competent enough in aiding the pulling center and guard for a 23-yard gain for Adrian Peterson. Remember, left tackles aren’t coveted for their run blocking anyway.
Excels in Different Pass Sets
While run blocking is essential, today’s NFL is more about passing the football. This is where Williams makes his money. His long arms, athleticism, nimble feet, and refined technique are precisely what one is looking for on the blindside.
Williams is excellent at running jump sets in a quick passing offense. A jump set is designed for the offensive lineman to attack the defensive player as soon as possible. Williams does this as well as anyone in the NFL.
Last year against the Green Bay Packers, Williams is executing a jump set on this quick slant call. Williams attacks the edge rusher after the snap and digs his toes in; quickly creating a strong base. His hand placement is precise, which allows him to showcase his length while stopping the edge rusher in his tracks. Smith gets the pass off with zero pressure from his left side.
On 45-degree sets, we see the same technique from Williams. The difference between 45-degree sets and jump sets is that on a 45-degree set you’re making contact on the second kick instead of the first. In the same game, we see Williams do precisely that.
Williams uses quick footwork to gain position while getting his hands into the defender. From there he can control the defender while sliding into his set and stonewalling the rusher. The defender poses no threat to the quarterback on this play.
It helps that Williams has outstanding size as well. This is an added asset in the passing game, giving him desired length and a mass that can be anchored when needing to hold his ground. Even when he’s lost leverage, Williams’ long arms and stout frame allow him to recover.
Against Olivier Vernon last season, Williams takes his first kick step at the snap. Vernon comes with the bull rush and initially wins the matchup. However, Williams technique is always steady, and his excellent base helps him reset his hands to regain a correct anchor. He turns the play into a win and helps his quarterback remain upright from the left side.
So, what’s the big deal?
Trent Williams is still an elite left tackle in the NFL and can upgrade any offensive line in need of a consistent blindside blocker. With that being said, It will take a hefty amount of money and potential draft capital for a team to sway the Redskins to part ways with him.
Currently, the Washington Redskins do not want to trade Williams, but it seems he’s grown tired of his days in D.C. Whether it’s genuinely a medical staff concern, contract problem (lack of guarantees), or simply that the Redskins will not be good in 2019, Williams is not at practice.
If traded, he’ll more than likely seek one more big deal for his career. In March, Trent Brown reset the market. Brown’s four-year deal is worth $66 million with 57% fully guaranteed. Ironically, Williams most recent extension was also for $66 million, but it was for five-years instead of four, and only 45% was guaranteed.
With two years remaining on his current contract, expect a playoff contender to give the Redskins brass a call if they haven’t already. The Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams, and even the Cleveland Browns could use his services immediately. And I imagine Trent Williams would like a shot at the postseason before his career fades away.
Marcus Johnson is a writer for the Film Room at Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter @TheMarcJohnNFL.