It’s no secret that the Chicago Bears need to bolster their offensive line. The Bears’ o-line was ranked ranked 25th in the NFL by Pro Football Focus in overall effectiveness for the 2019 season, and they were the fifth-worst team in the league in rushing last year, gaining just 91.1 yards per game on the ground.
Multiple talented veterans have recently become available via both trade and free agency, and one in particular may be of interest to the Bears: Trent Williams, whose agent is now seeking a trade for the seven-time Washington Redskins’ Pro Bowler, per ESPN.
Is Williams worth trading for from Chicago’s perspective? Here’s a breakdown of his current contract, as well as where he may fit within the team’s current offensive line.
Trent Williams Contract: How Much Does Left Tackle Make?
Williams is slated to make $12.5 million in 2020 per Spotrac. He carries a dead cap hit of $2 million, so the Bears would need $14.5 million in cap space to bring him on. Williams becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2021, and Spotrac also has his estimated market value at $15.2 million currently.
At present, the Bears have just under $25 million in cap space — certainly enough to go after Williams. They would have to give up a starter in return for him though, as well as a few draft picks. Williams made the Pro Bowl seven straight seasons prior to sitting this year out due to various conflicts that stemmed from the team’s doctors misdiagnosing a cancerous growth on his brain. Williams had the cancerous growth removed early in 2019, and reported to the team in late October, but reported discomfort with his helmet.
A back-and-forth between himself and the Redskins ensued, and he was placed on the Non-Football Injury List in November. Williams’ agent says he wants to be traded not for fiscal reasons, but because he wants a “change of scenery.”
But would Chicago be the right place for Williams?
Bears Offensive Line: Where Would Williams Fit In?
Pro Bowl veteran Cody Whitehair has been the most reliable presence, never missing a game in four seasons, while playing both center and guard capably. James Daniels is just 22-years-old, and while he struggled at center, he has shown flashes at left guard in his first two seasons, especially considering his age. Daniels had a 73.9 overall grade at left guard from PFF, which was fifth in the league, so he has definite upside on the line.
Beyond that, the o-line waters are murky at best in Chicago.
Veteran guard Kyle Long, who was one of the team’s most staunch leaders, retired this offseason, and his presence in the locker room will be missed. Williams could fill in and provide solid leadership immediately.
Right tackle Bobby Massie just signed a four-year contract extension and carries a cap hit of 8.3 million, while much maligned left tackle Charles Leno Jr. carries a cap hit of just over $10 million this year and $11 million in 2021. Both had major issues when it came to protection last season. Leno Jr. gave up seven sacks and committed 13 penalties, which was tied for fourth-most in the league. Would Washington be interested in taking on Leno Jr. considering those not-so-attractive stats?
Windy City Gridiron proposed the Bears could try to trade two second-round picks (one this year and one in 2021) and Leno Jr. in exchange for Williams and a fourth-round pick. While it’s unknown whether new Washington head coach Ron Rivera would be interested in taking Leno Jr. on, the potential draft picks would have to be attractive to him.
Williams would be a clear upgrade over Leno Jr., but he will also be 32-years-old in July, so his age could be a factor moving forward. There have been no trade talks between Williams and the Bears — at least not yet — but there is no doubt he would make their offensive line much more formidable immediately.