Browns, John Dorsey need to consider trading for Washington tackle Trent Williams immediately
Oct. 08, 2019
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- On Monday, Washington fired head coach Jay Gruden after losing at home to New England 33-7 and dropping to 0-5.
Hours later, the Browns were destroyed on national television by the 49ers and a defensive line which features five first-round picks, including standout rookie Nick Bosa. The Ohio State product had two sacks, forced and recovered a fumble all while tormenting Baker Mayfield. Right before halftime, Bosa pressured the former Sooner into an intentional grounding call and celebrated by mocking Mayfield’s flag-planting moment back in Columbus two years ago.
Bosa was all laughs after the game but he and the 49ers exposed issues in the Browns’ offensive line that can no longer be ignored. Monday night solidified the obvious -- it’s time to bring in some outside help.
As Washington looks to the future, Cleveland is in a win-now mode. Despite both teams having a franchise-questioning Monday, the Browns and Redskins couldn’t be in two more different spots organizationally.
The Browns need offensive line help. Washington is building for the future and has a trade piece in All-Pro tackle Trent Williams, who wants a trade and has been holding out since training camp.
Both clubs sound like ideal trade partners. When asked about a possible trade, head coach Freddie Kitchens was close-lipped but ruled nothing out.
“I do not make those decisions. John (Dorsey) makes those decisions,” Kitchens said Tuesday via phone. “My job is to get the guys that we have to play good. ... John and I do an excellent job communicating with each other but those conversations will remain with us.”
Washington General Manager Bruce Allen has said he has no plans on exploring a trade for Williams until January, but everyone has their price. After what Dorsey saw Monday night it would be surprising if he wasn’t itching to trade.
Let’s explore first where the offensive line is failing then how Williams would fix said issues, followed by what it would take to obtain him.
Pass protection failures on Monday night
No matter how it’s sliced, there is near-universal agreement that Browns tackles, Chris Hubbard (right side) and Greg Robinson (left) struggled against the 49ers. The tape, performance grades and box score are all in agreement. Mayfield was pressured on 38 percent of throws, sacked four times and hit eight. Reminiscent of the Week 3 Sunday night game against the Rams, Mayfield was running for his life, turning the ball over and getting smoked.
Kitchens said on Tuesday that there is blame to go around. The offensive line’s issues are not exclusively on them, Mayfield holding onto the ball or the coaching staff. Like most things, it is a combination of several miscues. But eventually, talent wins and the Browns lack the athletes up front to compete with a Pro Bowl-caliber pass rush.
On this first play, Cleveland faced a third down on its second possession after the 49ers scored on their first play from scrimmage. The edges collapse on Mayfield and running back Dontrell Hilliard (25) has no chance with his one-on-one block.
Cleveland is out schemed here with Hilliard (5-11, 200 pounds) catching the 6-1, 230-pound Kwon Alexander. More importantly though, both edge rushers are able to pinch Robinson and Hubbard, forcing Mayfield to step up into Alexander’s path.
Hubbard and Robinson losing their one-on-one matchups was a recurring theme Monday night. Here the Browns try to double team Bosa, using guard Joel Bitonio to help Robinson on the left. But Bosa is too fast and gets upfield before the double team can hinder his depth. Because he is already within the pocket, Mayfield feels pressure and cannot keep his eyes downfield. He is forced to retreat into another 49ers sack.
Even when Mayfield was able to complete a pass, which he did only eight of 22 times for 100 yards, there was still pressure and Browns linemen getting beat.
On the longest pass of the game, Mayfield stepped up to hit Jarvis Landry and was only able to because San Francisco overloaded its right side pressure.
It’s a completion and Cleveland would’ve loved a lot more of these plays, even if Robinson gets beat off the snap as shown in slow motion. But a model to success where your left tackle routinely loses in pass protection tends to prove unsustainable.
On this last clip from Monday, Robinson’s lack of both feet and hand quickness in pass protection is displayed by another Bosa one-on-one blown assignment. Watch as Robinson is simply no match.
Bosa’s technique is a piece of art that consistently defeated Robinson.
The box score screamed the Browns tackles were allowing what felt like an endless supply of sacks, pressures and turnovers. The film agrees and so does Pro Football Focus. Robinson graded out at 48.2 in pass blocking and Hubbard was a 47.2 overall.
The offensive line as is can get Cleveland by versus average pass rushes, but against the top half of the league, it is going to continue to crumble unless outside help is brought in.
Enter one unhappy Redskin.
What Trent Williams brings to an offensive line
The tricky part about building an offensive line is 6-5, 325 pound tackles who possess the athletic gifts to keep pass rushers like Nick Bosa in front of them in one-on-one blocking situations are difficult to identify in the draft and equally as challenging to acquire via trade or free agency.
That is exactly what Williams is. A rare concoction of size, speed and strength who has made seven All-Pro teams in nine years. Meaning his price will be at a premium when Washington does decide to trade. But such foolproof investments are worth it and Williams provides the ability needed to keep Mayfield upright and in the pocket.
According to Pro Football Focus, Williams grades out as the fourth-best offensive tackle since 2006 behind Jonathan Ogden, Tyron Smith and Joe Thomas, all current or future Hall of Famers. His average of 90 overall grade over the past three seasons is third-best in that span.
Williams would without question shore up the Browns questions at tackle and give Cleveland an interesting amount of flexibility to explore moving Hubbard or Robinson to guard.
If the numbers aren’t enough, here are some highlights illustrating his rare combination of speed, body control and size.
Gauging the market is difficult. The NFL tends to be a copycat league both on the field and in front offices.
A month ago, the Texans acquired tackle Laremy Tunsil from Miami for what was deemed a blockbuster return, including two first-round picks and a second. Simply comparing the Tunsil trade to a deal for Williams likely isn’t fair because Tunsil (age 25) still has two years on his rookie deal compared to Williams (31) playing on an expiring contract.
Trading for Williams also means signing him to an extension. Considering tackle Trent Brown signed the largest offensive lineman deal in league history at four years and $66 million, Williams will command similar dollars.
Because of Mayfield’s rookie contract and the Browns management of their salary cap, Cleveland can afford to pay Williams, especially if it packages a player or two with a couple of draft picks.
Sending cornerback Denzel Ward (about $22 million remaining) packaged with a future first-round pick and a third-rounder is an offer Washington would have to take seriously. With how well the secondary is playing, Ward is becoming expendable. Yet he is still considered a promising prospect as a former No. 4 overall selection.
It’s time for Cleveland to swing for the fences again and correct an offensive live in need of repair. Dorsey is as aggressive a GM as there is and it’s time to act before Mayfield spends the rest of 2019 on his back.
The Naked Pictures Of Serena Williams That Got The World Oliver Twisted! BREAKING: Serving Senator, Orji Kalu, Sentenced To 12-Years In Jail Over N7.65bn FraudCOME AND SEE OOO: Crazy Fashion Outfits Nigerian Girls Display REALLY?! See What Simi Said About Her Marriage To Adekunle GoldSEE This Pre-Wedding Photo That Nearly Broke The Internet