The New England Patriots don’t have a “hole” at left tackle, so much as they have a pair of big question marks. Isaiah Wynn, a first-round pick last year, lost his entire rookie season to an Achilles injury and 6-foot-9 Dan Skipper, a decent training camp story thus far, also is an unknown.
Enter Trent Williams … maybe.
The Washington Redskins offensive tackle is holding out amid displeasure over his current contract. A seven-time Pro Bowler, the 31-year-old Williams has been one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL since entering the league in 2010.
And his holdout might lead to a trade, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported Wednesday, citing a source. Furthermore, people around the league believe the Patriots might get involved if Williams hits the trading block.
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That’s all well and good, but trading for Williams won’t be an easy task for New England to complete.
Here’s some context from The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin:
As Trent Brown showed last season and Nate Solder before him, protecting Tom Brady’s blindside is imperative to the success of the Patriots. Having a quality offensive line is important for any team, obviously, but it’s even truer in New England, where the quarterback will turn 42 years old on Aug. 3.
That said, trading for Williams would leave Wynn without a defined role, something no team wants for a top draft pick. Yes, the Georgia product mostly played guard in college, but the Patriots already have Shaq Mason, one of the best guards in the league, and Joe Thuney, an unspectacular yet incredibly dependable player, on the roster. And with the Patriots recently restructuring Marcus Cannon’s contract, it would appear there isn’t an opening at right tackle, either. As for center, David Andrews is a stud and isn’t going anywhere — probably.
Of course, Bill Belichick never has shied away from doing what is best for the team. And if that means trading for a star tackle and subsequently benching a first-round pick all season, so be it. Likewise, if Belichick really believes in Wynn, don’t be shocked if he trades or releases a veteran to make room for the 22-year-old.
Wynn has been a limited participant since the beginning of training camp, raising serious doubts over whether he’ll be up to speed in time for the regular season. That’s a job even the great Dante Scarnecchia will be hard-pressed to pull off.
Perhaps the solution is gifting the legendary offensive line coach a shiny new toy and giving Wynn more time to return to his pre-injury form. Stay tuned.
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images