If I was going to give the Green Bay Packers a grade on their offseason up to this point, it would have to be an A. But, that grade could easily be dropped down to a B if the Packers were to let Tramon Williams depart as a free agent, leaving themselves vulnerable at cornerback, one of the NFL’s most important positions.
Yes, getting back Randall Cobb and Bryan Bulaga was huge for Green Bay. And both deals ended up being quite reasonable. In fact, the Packers still have $21 million in salary cap space after bringing back Cobb and Bulaga, which means there is more than enough to give Williams a fair market deal to secure his services.
The Packers have already allowed 25-year Davon House, a promising young corner to sign with the Jaguars, and if they let Williams follow suit, Green Bay would have a question mark at corner. Sam Shields would be the top cover guy, but opposite him would probably be Casey Hayward, who is better suited to the slot. It would also force Micah Hyde back to being a full-time nickel back, reducing his snaps at safety.
Shields is solid but there are concerns about Hayward and Hyde being able to handle the second and third roles, down in and down out. And despite his age, Williams, whose football career got a bit of a late start, has shown no signs of slowing down. Last season, he had 70 tackles and three interceptions. He may not be a shutdown corner but he is a very good No. 2 and that’s all the Packers need him to be.
Therefore, Williams returning to Green Bay makes all the sense in the world, but only if the dollars are right. The Packers have reportedly offered him a two-year $8 million deal, which seems below market value, considering Cary Williams and House each just got $6 million plus per year from Seattle and Jacksonville.
Like Cobb and Bulaga, Williams may be willing to settle for less to stay in Green Bay as long as the offer is in the ballpark. Yet, it seems like the Packers will need to raise their offer at least into the $5 million a year range. And after Williams paid a visit to the New Orleans Saints, it’s an offer the Packers might want to make sooner rather than later.
Green Bay is too close to winning a Super Bowl to have to rely on unproven corners to get there. The cap space is there for the Packers, so the time to re-sign Williams is now, before it’s too late and they have to scramble at corner.