NFC East Notes: Williams, Butler, Collins

As Trent Williams enters his final year of his rookie contract,’s Rich Tandler examines whether Washington needs to re-up its best lineman at a top-end price.

The three-time Pro Bowl left tackle’s rookie deal signed under the old CBA and its lavish sums for high draft choices has Williams occupying more than $13MM of Washington’s cap this season — by far the highest figure on the team. The contracts for Tyron Smith ($12.2MM per year) and Joe Thomas ($11.5MM per) are probably what Williams, who left agent Ben Dogra, will use to negotiate with the struggling franchise. But Tandler offers another reality where the team drafts his potential successor in the first or second round this year and plays him at right tackle before allowing Williams to get his money elsewhere in 2016.

Although Tandler still bets Williams receives his checks in D.C. after this deal expires, he expands on Greg Cosell’s analysis from a recent podcast which illustrates a change in thinking regarding the importance of the blind-side protector.

Most coaches, when they put together pass-protection concepts, they will slide the protection to one side or the other. You can slide the protection to the left. You can slide the protection to the right. The left tackle, just by gospel now these days, has become the most important position. But it’s not necessarily that way,” Cosell said to podcast host Andy Benoit.

Here are some more rumors coming out of the NFC East on Friday afternoon …

  • LSU offensive tackle La’el Collins visited the Eagles last week, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Collins is projected as a mid- to late first-round selection as a right tackle.
  • The Cowboys worked out quarterback Bryce Petty last week at Baylor, Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports on Twitter.
  • Linebacker Victor Butler drew a four-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, becoming the fifth Giants player in five years to do so, reports Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. The former Cowboys, Saints, Cardinals and Colts backer signed a reserve/futures contract with the Giants and should now be considered unlikely to make the roster or possibly make it to training camp. Butler, 27, joins Eric Herman, Will Hill, Tyler Sash and Jimmy Kennedy as Giants who’ve been suspended for PEDs since 2011, reports Vacchiano.
  • Robert Griffin‘s injury history makes Washington picking up the 2012 rookie of the year’s fifth-year option, at $16.16MM salary guaranteed against injury, an ill-advised move, writes ESPN’s John Keim. Washington has until May 3 to use this on Griffin.
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