The Washington Redskins almost saw seven-time Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams take the field in 2019. Instead, the former Oklahoma Sooner rode the bench out of discontent and was eventually traded to the San Francisco 49ers.
After the Redskins and 49ers trade in the middle of the 2020 NFL Draft, more information has come out about Williams’ relationship with both teams, with the latest news coming through the NFL’s Ian Rapaport, who dropped news pertaining to Williams’ departure out of Washington and arrival in San Francisco.
For the Redskins, it’s a better insight to why and how Williams almost suited up for Washington in 2019. Rapaport’s recent statements also explain how the tackle and the 49ers have restructured his contract in order to benefit Williams.
Playing in 2019
In the clip that Rapaport tweeted Thursday, Williams explains that he was preparing to play for the Redskins last year, but being placed on the NFL non-football injury/reserve list happened before he could even get his helmet after attempting to return after the first nine weeks of the 2019 season.
“I was really prepared to make my return last year. I know with all the things that went on, being at the facility, being around teammates, being around the guys you fought with and bled with for so many years. It was almost impossible for me to fight the urge to not just want to get back on the field. I was literally waiting on my new helmet to come in, I was getting ready to gear up.”
“I was under the impression that my helmet was coming on that Tuesday and I was put on the [non-football injury list] on that Saturday or Friday. I was put on the NFI right before I could even get the helmet and get back out there.”
Williams’ battle with the Redskins over the handling of Williams’ tissue sarcoma cancer has been well-documented, but the ins-and-outs of his final season with Washington are just being fleshed out.
From Williams’ words, the tackle was fully prepared to play in 2019, but the team took matters into their own hands and made the decision for both sides, setting in motion the eventual trade the 49ers and Redskins eventually made this April.
Restructured Contract with 49ers
Later on Thursday, Rapaport tweeted more info from his interview with Williams, explaining that the 49ers did their new tackle a solid after he was hardly paid in 2019.
“He did get an agreement on a restructured final year of his contract. He made about $12.5 million dollars [with the Redskins,] still going to make about that sum, but the 49ers put some of this money up front. A little help for a guy that didn’t make anything in 2019.”
This is a solid move from the 49ers. Even though it doesn’t necessarily save the 49ers money, they now have extra cap space in 2020, although they’ll have to deal with the aftermath in 2021.
San Francisco general manager John Lynch and company ensure that Williams is on very good terms ahead of his first season in Santa Clara, California, and potentially help themselves re-sign tight end George Kittle or invest the money elsewhere.
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, MT. Follow and reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier.