Trading for Trent Williams from the Redskins could give the Cleveland Browns flexibility to trade down in the NFL Draft, or select a player of a different position.
According to Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot, the Browns have continued to explore a trade with the Washington Redskins to land Williams, a seven-time Pro Bowler.
The issue with Williams is that he will be 32 years old when the 2020 NFL season begins. Also, he is set to hit unrestricted free agency next weekend as is seeking an extension. Furthermore, has not played a complete season since 2013, when he was 25. He also did not play at all last season.
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Yet with all of that in mind, it certainly feels as if the Browns have been trying to find a reasonable way to land Williams for quite some time. Before October's deadline, there was plenty of Williams to the Browns buzz and it appears as if the buzz has not stopped despite another regime change.
But for now, it certainly feels as if the Redskins are still expecting a king's ransom for their inevitably declining left tackle. Furthermore, the analytically-driven Browns front office probably wouldn't favor a huge, long contract.
Trading for Williams would give the Browns much more flexibility with the No. 10 overall draft selection.
GM Andrew Berry has recently plugged positions of need with veteran free agents to alleviate the pressure of playing rookies right away. Bringing in veteran safeties Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo on one-year deals gives the Browns a chance to develop the safeties they draft, as well as Sheldrick Redwine.
The same philosophy can be used with Williams and a rookie left tackle.
Previously, Cleveland has seen an analytically-driven regime trade back in the draft to acquire future picks and assets. That is certainly a possibility for Berry, who would have secured his left tackle in a Williams trade. This would allow him to trade back from No. 10, and acquire future draft picks from a team that might be eager to move up the draft board.
By doing this, Berry could address the positional need of linebacker by drafting LSU's Patrick Queen, Oklahoma's Kenneth Murray or Wisconsin's Zach Baun in the late first round. Or, he could address the safety position by drafting LSU's Grant Delpit or Alabama's Xavier McKinney.
At some point, the Browns will still need to find the left tackle of the future to replace Williams, and it's quite possible that Berry believes he can strike gold with a later pick.
For example, with a trade down, the Browns could draft Boise State's Ezra Cleveland, who has met with the Browns front office in the pre-draft process. A day two selection for the Browns could be Matt Peart from Connecticut who was a three-year starter for the Huskies.
The Browns should not mortgage the farm in a Williams trade, especially in a draft that features four prime offensive lineman candidates. However, if they find a trade that allows them to acquire an exceptional talent for a fair price in compensating both the Redskins and Williams, Cleveland could certainly be aggressive and move towards a "win now" ideology.