Riley Reiff’s Contract Makes Trading for Trent Williams a No-Brainer

So, the Vikings are interested in Trent Williams. That much has been made very clear over the last few days. A lot of that talk has surrounded Anthony Harris, because their 2020 cap numbers and value in the open market are pretty similar.

Harris is franchised tagged at $11.4M for 2020 and Williams is in the final year of a deal that will pay him $12.5M in 2020. If either were traded for draft picks, return compensation would require a 3rd rounder for sure, but both teams would probably open negotiations asking for a 2nd.

If Washington wanted Harris and the Vikings decided he + his $11M+ franchise tag were expendable, they could flip the two straight up. If Washington doesn’t want to make that deal, then you can hope to flip Harris to a different team, for a pick the Redskins would exchange for Williams. Both scenarios lead to the same place.

Can the Vikings get Trent Williams to Minnesota under the salary cap, however, if Anthony Harris is still on the roster? Or, do those two have their Vikings’ fates tied together, Harry Potter/Voldermort style?

The answer is, “no”. They’re futures in purple don’t have to be negatively tied together like the wrong ends of two magnets. The flexibility of Riley Reiff’s contract gives the Vikings another option. He would become expendable at left tackle, should the Vikings decide to trade for Williams. Cutting Reiff would clear $8.8M in cap space, leaving Trent’s net cost for 2020, at just $3.7M (Williams contract – Reiff’s contract), which is easily under what the Vikings currently have available.

Harris’ battle to stay on roster might not be against Williams. It might be against the vacant mid-round pick created when we trade for the Washington left guard, in this hypothetical scenario.

If the Vikings bring in Williams and keep Harris, I can’t see them making any more moves this offseason. After signing draft picks and extending Cook, they’d be pretty strapped. Trading Harris, after bringing in Williams, would give them more cap flexibility than what they had before upgrading at left tackle (about $15M before Cook extension)… but then they’d have another hole to fill at safety…

….ah the joys of salary cap conundrums.

No matter what the Vikings decide with Harris, they need to trade for Trent Williams. We need to upgrade our line in the worst way and he is the only guarantee you have right now, to make that happen. You can decide if you’d rather have Harris or that mid-round 2020 pick later… but it’s time to cut Reiff and get Williams here no matter what.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan