Washington decides not to pay Trent Williams

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The ugliness continues between Washington and left tackle Trent Williams. To no surprise.

As expected, Washington has opted not to pay the balance of Williams’ base salary for 2019 ($5.1 million), following his placement on the season-ending non-football injury list. By rule, teams have the right to choose to not pay a player when the player is unable to practice and play due to an injury or illness unrelated to football. Although, as ESPN.com points out, other teams have paid players who have become unable to play due to non-football conditions, plenty of others haven’t — and the rules compel no team to pay the salary.

Although not mentioned in the report, Washington’s position quite possibly has been influenced by suspicion regarding Williams’ claim that he is suffering discomfort while wearing a helmet, due to the cancerous growth removed from his head earlier this year. If Williams had been traded to another team, would he have had discomfort when wearing a helmet?

Right or wrong, the circumstances invite speculation that gamesmanship is occurring, for both player and team. Indeed, this all could be leading to a fight regarding whether the alleged neglience of his football team’s medical staff (more on that to come soon) in failing to insist on removal of the growth earlier makes it into a football injury, given the possibility that the failure to address the issue sooner makes the end result — Williams’ current inability to wear a helmet — a football injury and not a non-football injury.

Williams has the ability to challenge the designation, but as one source explained it to PFT it’s an uphill battle. But it’s a battle worth fighting, not only because of the $5.1 million but also because the question has riding on it the last, and biggest, point of contention between player and team: Whether his contract tolls by a full year, tying him to the team not through 2020 but through 2021.

Although it’s widely believed that Williams will be traded after the current season, Washington will prefer to be able to trade him with two years remaining on his deal, since that will tend to increase the compensation the team receives. Williams will push for the contract to not toll, making him a free agent after 2020.

Thus, look for Washington to next claim that the contract has tolled by a year. Look for Williams to challenge the NFI designation, claiming both that he should get the $5.1 million and that he should be under contract through 2020 only.

30 responses to “Washington decides not to pay Trent Williams

  1. Trent mishandled it.
    He should have reported 2 weeks earlier, so he could accrue enough to become a free agent sooner.

  2. This should be a red flag to all free agents not to sign in DC.
    Misdiagnosis by the team physician? Worsening condition? Smells like Snyder will be paying more after a future lawsuit to come.

  3. I have to say Washington really screwed this one up. Now they’re going take on the union and the player over multiple grievances.

    I have to think the league wants no part of a court case that looks into how the teams/league screw players over. They would also look into the medical care that the team doctors provide throughout the league.

    These issues could potentially cause the league to lose their antitrust exemption.

    Dumb Owner; dumber GM/President of Ops.

  4. Or trade him at the beginning of the year when already he has two years left on his deal and you don’t have to pay him.

  5. It truly amazes me how MANY teams are badly run. Not the players on them, BUT the owners , GM’s and the inept coachs they hire. Redskins, Jets, Dolphins, Bengals, Bucs, Browns.

  6. Look – where the redskins have done little to receive the benefit of the doubt – need to keep a couple of things in mind.

    1. We have only heard Williams side of the story. It is possible that he is only providing part of the story and leaving out key points

    2. The Redskins (because of privacy laws) are prohibited from disclosing anything in regards to Williams treatment. What was noticed, how he was told to handle, etc.

    3. The Redskins reached out to the league and the union and asked for a neitr party analysis of how this situation was handled. Williams has told the union not to support this – which, in effect quashes this review.

    So maybe the Redskins are negligent in their actions. Or perhaps Williams is looking to blame others for his situation, or looking for a way out of Washington.

    I would think that if I felt screwed over by malpractice – I would want as much proof as possible – including the neutral review. The union would protect his rights in that situation. By denying it – it ensures only his narrative is public.

    As a Giants fan, I have no issue with the Redskins self destructing – but we don’t have enough information to determine who is at fault.

  7. once again wash. has proven themselves to be completely inept, feel bad for skins fans, the other owners (esp. in the NFCE) must love it, but honestly Snyder just hurts the entire league and district with his bumbling ineptitude. Never handles anything right, puts a shoddy product on the field and just alienates his fan base, as well as fans of other teams. Even though Clev. still stinks, they seem to be trying to improve. I suggest all fans boycott their games until that POS is forced to sell. People like that are crap, does not care about people at all, only thing he sees is green. Sad, because it is a reflection of what is happening in almost every aspect of american society these days, from manufacturing, health care, car prices, politics, environment and damn near everything else. Just discouraging.

  8. Do NFL medical staffs seriously act as the primary physicians for players. If I have a growth on my head and my primary says don’t worry about it…I go get a 2nd and pay out of my pocket.

    At some point pampered athletes need to take a personal responsibility.

  9. Just when you think the “Washington team” couldn’t get any worse publicity from this situation, they dig up yet another level of spite. Just release the man. NOW!!

  10. He held out and when he did report he said he wasn’t going to play. Why should they play him. It’s one thing if he failed his physical but when he reported and said he wasn’t going to play what would you expect. Oh sure, he can fight it but that would mean going to a neutral third party. He already refused to do that regarding his medical condition so if he wants to appeal their decision he’ll have to do something similar. I blame both parties for this situation. I think his contract will toll and it should. Williams should have thought about that. It’s easy to bash on Washington but I have no problem what they did–especially when you consider Williams’ stance. If he doesn’t play and wasn’t injured on the field, why should they pay him? Yes, Washington is a train-wreck but that doesn’t mean they are wrong in how they have handled this.

  11. Washington has a plantation mentality. We own him. We’ll teach him and everyone else a lesson.

    The only thing that has improved for Washington is their draft position.

    So, what did they do. Dragged a horror show out.

  12. I’d love this to drag out for another year or two. Injury compensation and contract pay schedules are the only reason I watch football on Sundays.

  13. I’m with the club on this one. Williams had the time and the means to hire his own Drs to look at the growth on his head. Getting a second opinion is something most of us do when we have a real medical concern. Second, the team hired Drs, but those Drs individually as licensed professionals have a greater duty to the patient than they do the team. If they minimized or mislead about Williams’ condition, they should be held liable as Drs. Even if the team ordered them what to do, as a licensed professional they had the obligation to do right by Williams. Third, I don’t think even the most wild-eyed anti-tackle football zealot has speculated that football causes cancer. It truly seems to be a non-football injury.

  14. He never had any intention to play. That was reported late Spring. I’m not taking sides because both have grossly mishandled the situation. Trent by waiting till after free agency and the draft to announce his holdout and the Redskins refusal to trade him when they could have received substantial draft capital

  15. Interesting series of comments. It seems clear that the medical staff botched this and is trying to rely upon a notation in William’s medical records that they recommended he see a dermatologist – at least THREE years ago – meaning he went through at least four subsequent full physicals during which the “doctors” said nothing about the growth despite the original notation that Charley Casserly reported (possibly violating privacy laws). No one knows what the team “doctors” said to Williams about seeking a dermatologist’s opinion (though I suspect it was an offhand comment without any urgency – that doctors never followed up). This is a medical malpractice issue, but the Redskins have made it a league wide issue about medical protocols and the appearance of team doctors as player’s primary physicians. Since non-NFL doctors may not know the drug restrictions the NFL imposes wouldn’t it be logical to presume a team doctor is the player’s primary care doctor? This is an issue about to explode. I believe that Snyder is going to be at the center of a tsunami of player fury that may derail a new CBA.

  16. This is not just about the team physician. The team has been dysfunctional with a chaotic and negative work environment that rewards brown-nosing more than competence since Williams was brought in, and even before that. The team president enforces an authoritarian, vindictive atmosphere and cares nothing for his players or the team’s success. Look at all the players that Washington has had disagreements with over the years, not to mention the cheerleader controversy. Nothing about the place sounds like it’s a place where anyone would want to be, or expect to not be taken advantage of. Allen has no loyalty to his employees.

    If you ask me, the cancer was only part of his reason for wanting to leave. The fact that he cannot trust Allen to put together a winning roster is problematic for a player on the wrong side of thirty, and I doubt Williams feels that Washington will treat him well as he ages. There’s no reason for him to waste his time there if the Redskins have shown that they don’t value his loyalty. It’s not like Witten and the Cowboys or Fitzgerald and the Cardinals or even Thomas Davis and the Panthers some other venerable veteran who’s spent his whole career/most of his career with a team that values him. The Redskins don’t value anybody but the Redskins and they’re not winning any time soon, even with all the talent on defense. The team is just dysfunctional top to bottom. And, on top of that, Williams feels like he can’t trust the doctors. And then, on of THAT, the team refuses to trade him or cut him, knowing that they’re not planning on paying him for the missed time. So yeah, I don’t think this medical issue is the only reason Williams is refusing to report.

  17. He’s the one that held out. Glad he’s not receiving a paycheck. The poor me victim mentality gets old.

  18. Everyone keeps saying that since the team doctors know drug restrictions of the NFL it should be logical that they are the players primary physician. Ummm… no. If you work at a chemical plant, the staff doctors may know more about your exposures to the chemicals you work with, but that doesn’t make them your primary doctor. Assuming that an orthopedic doctor is your primary doctor is…not smart.

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