The Green Bay Packers have had a fairly good offseason up to this point – until today – when the Packers stood idly by as Tramon Williams, one of the two starting caliber cornerbacks on their roster left the team to sign a free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns.
For whatever reason, the Packers seemed to have very little interest in bringing back Williams, who is second in the NFL in interceptions only to Richard Sherman since Sherman entered the league back in 2011. The news was reported by Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer and winds up being a three-year $21 million deal.
Yes, the numbers are a bit eye-popping, especially considering Williams is going to turn 32 years old this summer. However, Williams has continued to play well regardless of his age. Furthermore, Williams has been extremely durable during his career playing in 141 of 142 possible games.
While the signing is great for the Browns, who get a starting caliber corner, it’s bad for the Packers, who already allowed Davon House to leave for Jacksonville earlier this season. And for whatever reason, the Packers simply would not offer more than $4 million a year to Williams, who was obviously worth more on the open market.
This might be an instance where the Packers regret not paying the money to a player that is still more than capable of producing at a high level. Yes, it’s better to move on one year too soon from a player rather than a year too late — but with no suitable replacement on the roster right now, at least none who have proven they can start, Green Bay has left itself vulnerable at one of the game’s premier positions.
Only time will tell if allowing Williams to leave will be a mistake. It’s possible that Casey Hayward will do well in a starting role and Micah Hyde is more than capable of being effective in the slot. Yet, after boasting incredible depth at the cornerback position last season, it’s now a weakness and one Green Bay will certainly need to address at some point this offseason if its going to have the depth and talent required to make another deep run in the playoffs.