“It’s a possibility,” Peterson said during the team’s year-end locker room clean-out. “Before the firing …” his voice trailed off. “Obviously, we all knew how [Williams] felt and what he had to say, so I do feel like there’s an opportunity to come back.”
Williams was not in the Redskins’ locker room Monday when reporters were present, and it’s unclear whether he was at the facility. If he does return in 2020, Williams would be in the final season of the five-year, $68 million deal that he signed just before the 2015 season. If the Redskins cut or trade him anytime before the season, according to Spotrac, he would count only $2 million against the salary cap.
But the vibe out of Redskins Park on Monday was optimistic: Rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins took to Twitter to express his excitement about the possibility of Williams returning as his blind-side protector.
Williams’s dispute with Allen stretches back to the offseason. Williams, 31, held out this year because of a growth on his scalp, which eventually resulted in a cancer diagnosis he believes team doctors did not take seriously. Williams returned to the team Oct. 31, but after a failed physical resulting from Williams’s helmet causing his head discomfort, the Redskins placed Williams on the non-football injury list Nov. 7.
Williams was certain that Allen engineered the season-ending move as punishment for his holdout and talking to reporters about his frustration with the team’s medical staff and his cancer diagnosis. In an interview with The Washington Post, Williams said he held Allen responsible for the fallout between him and the team, adding that “they didn’t burn the bridge by accident.”
“I don’t see how it can be reconciled,” Williams said of his relationship with the team at the time. He also made a point to say that he didn’t feel as though owner Daniel Snyder was responsible for the rift.
Now, with Allen, the architect of the bridge-burning, gone, Peterson says he thinks there’s a possibility Williams could return.
Norman squares off with uncertain future
The question irked Josh Norman. The cornerback still has one year left on the megadeal he signed in 2016, and he maintains full confidence — at least publicly — that he is going to play it despite his benching this year. A reporter asked whether he has been told he is not returning next season.
“Not that I know of,” he said. “Not to my knowledge. … What I know, I’m still here."
This started what was an at-times awkward 10 minutes with reporters Monday. Norman asserted he wanted to stay in Washington, saying, “I’m married to these guys whether I want to be or not.” On Allen’s firing, he said, “Anybody that loses their job, it sucks.” He avoided giving a personal endorsement of his former coach with the Carolina Panthers, Ron Rivera, who is the Redskins’ top coaching candidate, before indicating he thought Rivera could change the Redskins’ culture.
“From what you see now to what you’ll see if [he’s hired], it’ll be a night-and-day swap,” Norman said, adding: “I hope I’ll be a part of something like that. That’s special.”
Kerrigan wants to stay in Washington
Washington must make a series of difficult offseason decisions, including on the contract of outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who is in the final year of a deal that would pay him $11.5 million next season. Washington would likely need to restructure that deal to keep him, or it could save $11.7 million against the salary cap should it cut Kerrigan loose by June.
Kerrigan, whose season was hampered by injuries, made clear Monday that he is seeking to stay in Washington.
“This is my home now. I’ve been here for nine years,” he said. “I’ve been through some good seasons; I’ve been through some bad ones. I want to be here through the good and the bad. I love Washington, D.C. I definitely want to be around. I’ve made that clear to my agent, everyone. I want to be here.”
Other players were forced to address their futures Monday — including guard Brandon Scherff, who is set to become a free agent but told NBC Sports Washington that he wants to remain in Washington.
Haskins lobbies for O’Connell
Rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins lobbied for offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell to remain in his role despite the changes taking place across the organization. Haskins acknowledged that change “can be good,” but said retaining O’Connell would give him a chance to progress in the same offense in 2020.
“Kevin is a great guy and I hope he gets the opportunity to stay. We’ve grown a lot throughout the year,” Haskins said. “The biggest thing with Kevin is just us being on the same page. As an offensive coordinator, when you call plays you have an idea of where the ball is going to go before you call it. As a quarterback, you start to understand what he’s seeing before he calls a play. … It’s easier because you execute at a higher level because you’re both anticipating the same thing.”