Two summers ago, the Jets traveled to Richmond, Va., to conduct joint training camp practices with the Redskins. During one of those sessions, the teams matched up in a one-on-one pass rushing/blocking drill.
The main event of these drills was Jets defensive lineman and first-round pick Leonard Williams against Redskins offensive tackle and first-round pick Trent Williams.
It was not close.
Trent dominated Leonard in the Williams-on-Williams showdown in a jaw-dropping display of power. The 6-foot-5, 320-pound left tackle showed how dominant he can be.
Now, the Jets have a chance to acquire Trent Williams if general manager Joe Douglas chooses to go down that road. Washington gave Williams’ agent permission to negotiate a trade on Thursday, ending a staredown between the player and the team.
It is no secret the Jets need to improve their offensive line dramatically this offseason. They have largely ignored the position for the last decade, and it has caught up to them. Douglas needs to find a way to better protect quarterback Sam Darnold and open some holes for running back Le’Veon Bell.
Should he pursue Trent Williams?
There is not an easy answer to that question. He should, at the least, explore what the cost would be to acquire Williams. In all likelihood, that price will be too rich for Douglas, but you never know.
Williams would instantly alter the offense. A seven-time Pro Bowler protecting Darnold’s backside would be appealing for everyone at the Jets.
But Williams turns 32 in July and sat out last season after he felt the Redskins’ medical staff did not handle a medical condition properly. He wound up having a cancerous growth removed from his scalp. Williams said he lost trust in the team, particularly former team president Bruce Allen.
The cost for Williams will be two-fold. A team is going to have to be willing to give up trade compensation to the Redskins plus give Williams a contract extension. The second part may be the trickier aspect for the Jets.
Williams is due to make $12.5 million this season. He is expected to be seeking a new deal that would make him one of, if not the, highest paid tackles in the NFL. That reportedly could reach as high as $19 million or even $20 million per season. If those numbers are accurate, it would be unlikely the Jets would commit that kind of money to him when they have so many needs to fill.
The other half of the compensation equation is what will the Redskins be looking for in terms of draft picks. There was a belief last year Washington could have gotten a first-round pick for Williams. He is now a year older and missed an entire season, so the Redskins have less leverage. The Jets have an extra third-round pick from dealing Leonard Williams to the Giants last year. Would a third-rounder this year and a fifth-rounder in 2021 be enough?
The draft-pick compensation will probably depend on how robust a trade market there is for Trent Williams. The Browns are expected to be interested. They reportedly tried to trade for him last year, and they hired Bill Callahan, Williams’ former position coach with the Redskins.
Wherever Williams ends up, it likely will affect the Jets. If a team with a top-10 draft pick trades for Williams, that could take one more team out of the tackle market in the draft and makes it more likely one of the top four tackles will be available when the Jets draft at No. 11.
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