Where has the 2009 and 2010 lockdown, ballhawking cornerback Tramon Williams gone?
The answer: He is gone and will never return. Williams is set to make just under $6 million in 2013 and just under $7 million in 2014, those numbers make him the third highest paid Packer on the roster. This is the point where the Packers should be asking themselves, ‘is Tramon Williams really worth $13 million over the next two seasons?’
If the answer isn’t obvious then there is a problem in Titletown.
For the past two seasons Tramon Williams has been a liability for a Packers defense that has been tough to watch, especially in the playoffs. During the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, Williams was one of the best corners in the NFL. In those two seasons Williams had 10 interceptions, 35 pass deflections and 96 tackles, even though he only started 26 of the possible 32 games during that span.
The last two seasons Williams has just six interceptions, including only two this past season. Williams’ tackling ability has also taken a hit over the past two seasons, especially this season. In particular the two regular season games against the Minnesota Vikings, Williams appeared scared to tackle Adrian Peterson (I know it’s not easy).
His poor tackling (at best) paired with his diminishing coverage skills Williams just isn’t worth the money anymore. In a division that has receivers such as Brandon Marshall and Calvin Johnson, the Packers need a corner they can count on to limit these players, and Tramon cannot do that anymore.
It’s no secret that guys like Clay Matthews, BJ Raji and Aaron Rodgers will need their contracts extended in the near future and the ability to free up $13 million from a declining player makes sense.
All one has to do is look at the Packers’ roster and see that the secondary is in good hands without Williams. Sam Shields had his best season as a Packer in just 10 games this season. Shields intercepted three passes and defended 10 passes. He also had a huge pick-six of Colin Kaepernick in the eventual playoff loss to the 49ers.
Rookie Casey Hayward also had a huge year for the Packers in his rookie campaign and could even be named defensive rookie of the year (most likely not). Also, don’t forget about Davon House, who was actually penciled in as the starter for the 2012-13 season before he went down with a shoulder injury in the preseason. House, Hayward and Shields give the Packers a solid secondary crew that are all very young and will continue to get better.
I’m in favor of the Packers and Williams agreeing on a new contract in which Williams takes a significant pay cut, but if a deal cannot be reached then the Packers should either trade or release the veteran cornerback.
I’ve been a Williams supporter for years and I think he still has some good football left in him. However, the past two seasons have made me feel otherwise. The Packers need the money he makes to extend better players and because of that reason he has played his last down in Green Bay.