Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams could transform the New York Jets offensive line from flank into a formidable rib-eye cut.
Joe Douglas gets it. He flat-out understands. The man who so confidently strutted his booming resume into Florham Park early June recently demonstrated just how clear-minded and sound his team-building ways are presented.
Now that Ryan Kalil is the man Sam Darnold will touch on the backside so many times this season (not as frequently in Adam Gase’s shotgun-loaded offense), Douglas’s early June message has officially commenced itself in action.
“It starts with the quarterback and both lines.”
The quarterback is, of course, in-house. At least the franchise (and its many diehard fans) believes he’s here. (He better be.) Quinnen Williams is already making bone-crushing plays, and alongside Leonard Williams and Henry Anderson, the interior of Gregg Williams’s defense looks filthy.
The offensive line remains the great bugaboo—something Douglas, the former offensive lineman, cannot stand.
Mike Maccagnan’s criminal team-building ways left the cupboard bare. Having drafted just three big heavies (two in the fifth round and one in the third) over the span of five drafts (34 total picks), Darnold’s guys resembled flank steak. Resembling a rough-around-the-edges feel and less-than-stellar quality, there just isn’t a flattering way to describe the situation.
Kalil, the five-time Pro Bowler and two-time First-Team All-Pro, immediately lifts the line to a London broil-type level. While the cut of the meat isn’t top-of-the-line, the way it’s now prepared suddenly eases tensions. The combo of Kalil and Kelechi Osemele on the inside owns the opportunity to do some damage.
Now, there’s just one move left that would cap the move from flank to rib-eye.
Williams, 31, is far from the perfect acquisition. Like Kalil, he isn’t a spring chicken and has suffered numerous injuries in recent memory. He’s missed nine games over the last two seasons and 13 in total over the last three.
All of those concerns are washed away when realizing the future is in the building. Young Darnold needs a fortress and he requires it now.
The offensive line remains the most overlooked and underrated unit in all of sports. Accounting for nearly half of the entire offense (5 of 11 players), it’s the unit that bleeds life into the offense.
Track every great team in NFL history and a tremendous five-man front is present. Take a gander at the best teams in the NFL today. … it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. From the Kansas City Chiefs to the Philadelphia Eagles, studly big guys (with depth) is present.
When Kareem Hunt went down, Andy Reid’s offense didn’t miss a beat. Damien Williams ran behind a dominant front to success for the first time in his big-boy career. The very year Andrew Whitworth signed with the Los Angeles Rams was the exact timing of Todd Gurley’s breakout (improving from a disastrous 3.2 yards per carry in 2016 to a dominant 4.7 a year later).
The very same offseason Max Unger retired, the Saints didn’t mess around. They traded up in the second round of the draft to snag their man, Texas A&M center Erik McCoy, despite already employing one of the league’s best units.
Perhaps the dirtiest little secret over the better part of the last two decades resides up north. What Dante Scarnecchia has done for Tom Brady’s career remains, to this day, one of the great untold stories of our time. No quarterback has enjoyed such freedom and time after the center snaps the ball.
Speaking of the evil empire, the Williams situation presents a dangerous time for the Jets. Per Jeff Howe of The Athletic, Bill Belichick might be interested in acquiring the Washington Redskins stud.
The Redskins are having trade discussions regarding tackle Trent Williams, according to a source. Unclear what type of compensation they'd require in a trade. There's a feeling around the league the Patriots would be involved due to depth issues at the position.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) July 31, 2019
Howe notes that “there’s a feeling around the league the Patriots would be involved.”
Williams, of course, is at odds with his current employer and, for once, it has nothing to do with the color green. Furious with the organization regarding a medical scenario leaves the All-Pro dangling in the trade winds.
For the Pats, the seven-time Pro Bowler makes all the sense in the world. Losing left tackle Trent Brown to free agency has left them thin at the all-important position, one the best teams treat like gold.
For the Jets, it makes more sense, and could be the move that helps shift the power of balance in the AFC East. The only way that power shifts is if Brady slides further down. (The only way Brady slides further down is if his line struggles.) And the only way the Jets take advantage is if Darnold leaps massively during his sophomore season. (And the only way Darnold takes that leap is if his O-line is treated like gold.)
A line of Trent Williams, Kelechi Osemele, Ryan Kalil, Brian Winters and Kelvin Beachum/Brandon Shell would possess a shot to rank right up there with the most productive units in the NFL. Darnold becomes that much better and Le’Veon Bell can truly bust out in his first season in New Jersey.
For eight-straight seasons, Williams has been named to the NFC Pro Bowl roster. At 31 years of age and oft-injured, the man isn’t perfect. Considering the Redskins probable asking price makes it even less perfect.
In no world would I give up a first-rounder for an aging, oft-injured tackle. But a second for a stud left tackle that can help correct the past O-line sins that have left the franchise quarterback’s naked body so vulnerable in the breeze is a worthwhile price to pay.
Filet mignon or porterhouse may be out of the question, even with Williams aboard. But from flank to London broil, to eventually rib-eye with Trent Williams in tow, is a legitimate scenario that provides the Jets with legitimate January aspirations this season.
Besides, rib-eye, while a little fatty (which represents the extra fat that’d remain on the Jets front), may just actually outrank filet mignon and porterhouse anyway.