Trent Williams' standoff with the Washington Redskins has ended. After a four-month staring contest, he blinked first. But if he was as smart as Jalen Ramsey, or had a representative as smart as Ramsey's, he would have won this war quietly. Better yet, he would have collected his entire contract.
Back in early June, news leaked that Williams, a seven-time Pro Bowler, had demanded a trade or his release from the Redskins. He reportedly didn't trust their medical team based on how they advised him after he developed a tumor on his head this offseason and wanted out of the purgatory that is being a member of the Washington Redskins. Can't blame him.
The normal holdout cadence followed: Williams didn't show up for training camp or preseason and extended his absence into the regular season until the NFL trade deadline passed on October 29, at which point Williams faced two realities: the Redskins were the only team that would/could pay him this year, and if he didn't show up his contract wouldn't toll and he would still have two years left on his deal, presumably still in Washington. So he had to show, and now he'll get paid.
Guess what? He could have been paid this whole time.
As I wrote about when Ramsey requested a trade from the Jaguars and then proceeded to call out sick from work but still get paid, Williams had the same opportunity. He could have showed up to Redskins camp, said he had pain in his back (or some other undetectable injury) and couldn't play, and then quietly told them he would prefer to play somewhere else. Instead, someone (presumably on his team) leaked news that the Redskins medical staff is bogus and he wanted out. No way a team is going to allow themselves to get embarrassed like that and then give the player what they want.
NFL players need to learn from Ramsey. If you want to get paid and get your way, fake an injury. No doctor in the world can say definitively that your back doesn't hurt or predict when you can play a sport as physically demanding as football with your "hurt" back. The only thing you risk is other players questioning your heart and desire. But, you don't want to be teammates with them anyway, so sit back, relax, collect your check, and get ready for greener pastures. They're coming, but it'll take good acting to get there.