Speaking on 106.7 the Fan’s “Grant & Danny” radio show, Williams’s agent, Vince Taylor, said that he had reached an agreement on a contract extension with a team interested in trading for Williams but it fell through because Redskins management was erratic in what it was asking for in return. Taylor said other teams have told him that Washington’s front office “doesn’t know what it’s doing” when it comes to requesting trade terms for Williams after the team told Williams this month he could seek a trade.
Taylor offered the most complete account of why Williams is asking again for a trade — continuing a 10-month dispute that began in part because of Williams’s belief that team doctors did not properly diagnose a growth on his scalp that turned out to be cancerous — following a meeting in mid-February with Rivera at the Redskins’ practice facility. He said Williams was initially encouraged when owner Daniel Snyder fired team president Bruce Allen and hired Rivera at season’s end and was hopeful he could have a new start with Washington under Rivera.
But Taylor said Williams became frustrated when January dragged by and Rivera had not set up a meeting. Taylor said he had to make several calls before an appointment was set up while Rivera and his new staff settled in and assessed the roster they had inherited. Taylor and Williams were upset that Rivera welcomed free agent tight end Greg Olsen to the facility for a visit in the days after the Carolina Panthers had cut Olsen, choosing — in their opinion — to talk to a player Rivera had coached in Carolina before he met with Williams, who had been with the Redskins for all of his ten NFL seasons.
Taylor described Williams as being disappointed after he and Rivera met for roughly 15 minutes in Rivera’s office.
“He realized there is no relationship,” Taylor said. “Ron, in essence, wanted him to prove himself. ‘Prove yourself.’ And then the nostalgia of everything that has happened [in Williams’s Redskins tenure], he realized that there’s no relationship here. It’s better for us to part ways.”
Soon after, Taylor said, he renewed last June’s demand that the team trade Williams.
Williams’s demands surprised Rivera and the Redskins’ front office, a person with knowledge of the situation said. Rivera, who was said to have made recruiting Williams back to the team one of his early priorities, came away from the meeting with Williams believing it was “cordial” and the start of a relationship that would build over the coming weeks, according to the person. Rivera has said publicly that because he doesn’t know any of the players from last season’s team, he wants them to come to offseason workouts to show they will buy into the culture he hopes to build before considering making a long-term commitment to them.
The Redskins were shocked when Taylor called a few days after the meeting and said, “If you aren’t going to extend [Williams’s contract], then trade him,” the person said, adding that Taylor told Washington officials that Williams will not play for them.
On the radio, Taylor appeared to dispute this, saying neither he nor Williams has asked the Redskins for money on top of the $14.5 million he is owed on the final season of a five-year, $66 million extension he signed in 2015. Taylor also attacked reports that said Williams is looking for a new contract that would pay him as much as $19 million per year.
“It’s never been about the contract,” Taylor said.
Later, he answered a hypothetical question by saying Williams would consider a contract from another team worth $16 million per year.
He also implied that he negotiated with at least one team and reached some kind of an understanding on a deal. And while he would not identify the team or describe the contract, he did complain that the team has not been able to come to an agreement with Washington because, he said, Rivera and the front office kept changing their requests for what the Redskins would receive in return.
The Cleveland Browns, one of a handful of teams with a need at left tackle, are reported to be interested in Williams.
The Redskins are asking for a second-round pick for Williams, multiple people with knowledge of the situation said, but told teams they are willing to be creative in finding ways to match the value of a second-round choice, one person said, by packing several selections together or adding in players.
“They are not going to give away a blue-chip player at one of the most important positions for a fifth- or sixth-round pick,” the person said.