Is this Tramon Williams’ last year in Green Bay?


Tramon Williams is one of the highest paid Packers on the roster. Will he be worth keeping around?

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

By now it’s not news that Green Bay Packers‘ cornerback Tramon Williams has struggled with inconsistent play for the past two seasons. It would appear that the soon-to-be 31-year-old cornerback has lost a step. Along with Williams’ age, he has also been hampered by the lingering shoulder injury he suffered two seasons ago in the first game of the 2011 NFL season.

Tramon returns an interception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011 at Lambeau Field.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

As an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Tech

Tramon Williams is one of the highest paid Packers on the roster. Will he be worth keeping around?

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

, Williams may have already hit his ceiling in the NFL so his declining play may only get worse in the coming years. Personally, I think Williams still can be an elite corner in the NFL. Like I previously stated he has been hampered by the shoulder injury, which has impacted his play significantly, if he can come back healthy this season he will be fine.

The Packers have a very difficult decision to make with Williams, however, for a number of reasons.

First, can the defense continue to survive Williams’ poor performances as cornerback #1? Again, I think Williams will come back 100 percent healthy this season, which is huge for him since he hasn’t been healthy for two seasons. However, even if Williams comes back healthy stating that he can return to his 2010 form, may be a reach, but he has to become effective again.

Second, and most importantly, the money Williams is set to make. Williams and the Packers agreed to a 4-year, $41.25 million extension in 2010 that has paid Williams a boat load of money. In 2013, Williams is set to earn $6 million in base salary with a roster bonus of $1.2 million and miscellaneous earnings of $1.4 million. Add all that up and Williams’ 2013 salary cap hit against the Packers is a whopping $8.5 million with $4 million considered “dead money.”

2014 is also a big money year for Williams, if the Packers keep him around. In 2014, Williams will make $7 million in base salary with a $1.2 million signing bonus and another $1.4 million in miscellaneous earnings. Add all that up and Williams could make $9.5 million in 2014.

Tramon Williams is just short of the end zone at the end of an interception return against the Chicago Bears in 2009.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Third, is Williams hampering the development of the younger corners on the roster? Davon House, Casey Hayward and Sam Shields are the future of the secondary at the cornerback position for the Packers. Hayward has already been quoted this offseason as saying he would love to be a starter on the outside.

This begs the question, should the Packers and Williams part ways? It’s an interesting argument at the very least. The money the Packers would save by letting Williams walk either this year in training camp or next offseason would be significant.

However, on the flip side, losing Williams could be a bad thing for the young corners who count on Williams for helpful veteran tips and an example of how to conduct oneself on and off the field. Williams will take on the Charles Woodson role as veteran leader in the secondary for the Packers in 2013, releasing him might put too much pressure on the young guys in the secondary.

All in all, arguments can be seen on both sides. The Packers will have to ask themselves, is veteran leadership and solid play enough to keep an aging player on the roster  – one who makes a significant amount of money”

The release of Charles Woodson, Cullen Jenkins, Nick Barnett and Corey Williams (traded to Browns) in recent years might be a clue as to what the Packers might be thinking for Williams’ future with the team.