After Trent Williams’ agent released a statement demanding a trade or release a few weeks ago, let’s check in and see what’s new with the All-Pro left tackle and what it might mean for the Cleveland Browns.
It appears that multiple teams may have an interest in the services of Trent Williams, including the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, and New York Jets. However, even with showing interest, no team appears willing to pony up to what the Washington Redskins and Trent Williams are demanding.
With Williams making it clear he wants out, every day that passes the Redskins lose more leverage on the situation. At the 2019 trade deadline, it was said Washington was seeking a first-round pick for Williams, and now the belief is it will take at least a second-rounder. However, the Browns should not be willing to give up much more than a third.
The biggest issue with trading for Williams is the large extension that he wants following a trade. Given injury concerns, and Williams being 32-years-old at the start of next season, the Browns would be foolish to give up a high draft pick and sign Williams to a three- or four-year extension. Williams reportedly wants $20 million per year but is believed to land $17-18 million per year if he finds a desperate suitor.
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The Browns are in the perfect position to upgrade via the draft. Most successful teams aren’t winning playoff games and Super Bowls from signing free agents and making trades. They are great because they have three guys on the team they drafted after the third round who are major contributors.
The Browns can use the No. 10 pick in the 2020 NFL draft to take a top offensive tackle and pair him with newly signed free agent Jack Conklin. Those two tackles along with Joel Bitonio, J.C. Tretter and Wyatt Teller or Drew Forbes should be a formidable offensive line for Baker Mayfield. While everyone wants to hate on Chris Hubbard, his restructured contract and starting experience could be crucial as the Browns swing-man on the offensive line.
The only scenario with the Browns landing Williams would be if the Redskins are unable to find a trade partner and must release him. This would be a huge loss for the Redskins, so Williams being traded on or before draft night seems much more likely, just not to the Browns. Look for the Bengals who have become increasingly aggressive to land Williams. Their No. 33 pick would certainly entice the Redskins.