As the 2019 season draws closer, the Washington Redskins have been caught up in the spotlight quite a bit. This can be taken in both positive and negative ways depending on perspective, but one could argue that all publicity is good in a sense. When it comes to the Redskins, that narrative is almost always turned on its head. Whether it’s an injury or a tough loss, there always seems to be something brewing behind the curtains.
Early Headlines of 2019
The Redskins have never fallen short of creating some sort of headline. This season has been the same in that regard, as they’ve had plenty of offseason signings. Top prospects – like Landon Collins – have flooded through the door from both the NFL draft and free agent market. Next to the Collins signing, Washington’s pick up of Dwayne Haskins in April’s draft has been their most notable move. So far, Haskins has proven to be fluent with the offensive scheme of Jay Gruden, drawing attention from all corners of the league. However, it’s still too early to tell which Quarterback in this competition will come out on top.
As time has gone by, the headlines have only gotten hotter with the weather. The start of Washington’s offseason training camp was trumped by an early injury to the newly-signed Reuben Foster. Foster had been fighting his way back into the league after allegations and charges from his past came into light. Unfortunately, he fell victim to a torn ACL on the first day of OTAs, putting him and the Redskins in another difficult situation.
Typically, a big injury like Foster’s would be a top story for most franchises, however, that’s just the tip of the iceberg with the Washington Redskins. Shortly after the injury to Foster, Pro Bowl Tackle Trent Williams initiated his hold out. This came to shock many – including the Redskins’ front office – and is likely the most important situation on the table for this franchise.
Trent Williams Holds Out of Mandatory Practice
After being plagued with injuries for so many years, the Washington Redskins have another potential loss to deal with in regards to Trent Williams. By not showing up to mandatory minicamp, Williams has left a massive void in the offensive line and team as a whole. No matter whether this situation will be anything similar to that of Le’Veon Bell’s hold out last season, the Redskins need to do all they can to find common ground.
To put the situation into perspective, here are a few important statistics to consider when thinking of Trent Williams:
- 8th highest paid Offensive Lineman in the NFL and the 7th highest paid Tackle (entering 2019)
- in his 9 year career, he averages around 13 starts per season
- 12th highest penalty count among Tackles in 2018 with 8 (Morgan Moses was #1)
- selected to the Pro Bowl 7 times
- turns 31 years old in mid-July
It’s safe to say that Williams is a big asset to this team, but at what cost? Over the course of his 9-year career, he’s had a number of injuries that have kept him off the field. Ailments are fairly common among important position groups, especially the offensive line. However, it’s hard to rely on someone so much when they’re prone to injury. On top of that, Williams will be turning 31 on July 19, meaning he’s entered the second half of his career. This is where things get tricky for Washington, because the front office understands the risk that comes with extending Williams’ contract.
Is Trent Williams Replaceable?
With so much on the line, Washington would be silly to not consider every possible outcome. Of course, the main goal should be keeping Williams on the roster, but what if a deal can’t be reached? There certainly isn’t an answer on the current roster, so the Redskins have a few options in front of them:
- Create cushion in the salary cap to appeal to Williams’ monetary desires
- Trade Williams for a replacement or future assets
- Cut Williams from the roster to save money
All three of these situations aren’t particularly favorable for Washington, but a decision will have to be made at some point. It’s still somewhat unclear as to what exactly Williams is looking for by holding out, though many have speculated that it has something to do with a recent medical diagnosis. Earlier in April, Washington had addressed a medical issue with Williams, but the status and demeanor of his condition were made out to be inferior. Discussions of the topic have fizzled out due to lack of information, however, the concern still remains. Sources closer to Williams implied that he was upset with how the organization handled his diagnosis. That would definitely make the situation more serious than initially thought.
Even if the medical scare isn’t the driving force, Washington should still make an effort to credit Williams’ performance. Left tackle is arguably the most important position for any offense, logically making it one of the highest paid. Many believe that the Redskins have disrespected Williams by not extending him sooner, but it’s very hard to please everyone on the team. Massive contracts on players like Alex Smith and Landon Collins make it difficult for Washington to budge on Williams’ contract. As the days wane, this situation will only hang heavier in the minds of the fans, organization and players.
Josh Doctson Convinced He’ll Be a Free Agent
After so much drama and speculation to start the offseason, it’s hard to imagine things getting worse, right? Wrong. Earlier this week, Josh Doctson had interesting words when discussing his future:
“I think I’m hitting free agency next year. I won’t be the first, won’t be the last,” he said. “It’s nothing to be sad about, be mad about. Someone wants you there, so it’s all love.” (John Keim/ESPN)
The above statement sounds unsettling at first, but comes from a player that has struggled with the transition to the NFL. Since entering the league in 2016, Doctson has put together an abysmal statistic record consisting of 1,100 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Typically, this would be expected of a player in one season. As a result of his poor performance, the Redskins have found little usage for the young receiver. In addition to scheme-related issues, Doctson has had his fair share of injuries and dropped passes. The blame can’t be put entirely on Doctson, however, his reliability has been questionable, to say the least.
Questionable From the Start
In the last 20 seasons, the Washington Redskins have lacked many things: including consistent wide receivers. The front office has failed multiple times at putting together a decent receiving core, resulting in some of the worst passing offenses in the league over that time span. After drafting Josh Doctson with the 22nd overall pick in the 2016 draft, the Redskins were expecting to get their stud wide out. Instead, injuries dictated Doctson’s fate and limited his opportunities during his rookie season. This ultimately led to him falling a step behind in the wide receiver competition and he has yet to recover.
Since Doctson hasn’t proven to be much of an asset thus far, it’s not all that surprising for him to assume what he has already. What is surprising is the manner in which he discussed it. The modern-day media presence is so different than it used to be back in the day, making players much more accessible to the public. This is great for the player in the sense that they can connect with fans, respond to critics and pretty much just be themselves. When said accessibility leads to sensitive comments, it can create a gap between the player and organization. There’s no real telling as to how this situation has played out behind the curtains, but it has definitely put the Redskins back into another negative spotlight.
With new draftees in Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon, it doesn’t really matter how the whole Josh Doctson thing plays out. Rather than sending another prayer this season with Doctson as the hopeful starter, Washington made sure to round out the edges. New blood means more competition, so hopefully, the front office is more at ease than the fan base at this point.
How Will This Drama Impact the 2019 Season?
Although the Redskins organization feels like a reality TV show, there’s still some hope for the coming season. Young talent can be seen everywhere on the field, especially on the defensive front. The front office has made it clear that they want to build a top defense and it’s certainly paid off. Even their new offense has loads of potential, despite their defensive focus. It’s safe to say that the future is bright for the Washington Redskins even if they lose Trent Williams and/or Josh Doctson. Of course, neither situation is desirable, but the NFL is a business and tough decisions need to be made. The Redskins can’t let one or two guys dictate their future as they have in the past.
Featured Image Courtesy of Redskins Wire.
Follow Brayden on Twitter and Instagram: @staybrayzy
From Our Haus to Yours.