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Packers Cornerback Trio Enters Contract Season, Futures Uncertain

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Packers Cornerback Trio Enters Contract Season, Futures Uncertain

Green Bay Packers cornerback Davon House takes part in an offseason practice, by Benny Sieu—USA TODAY Sports.

Green Bay Packers cornerback Davon House takes part in an offseason practice, by Benny Sieu—USA TODAY Sports.

During the offseason, the Green Bay Packers hitched their wagon to Sam Shields, giving him a four-year deal worth $39 million.

It will be a long time before another Packers cornerback is paid as much as Shields. He's the future at the position on defense.

Tramon Williams, Jarrett Bush and Davon House, meanwhile, might be the past. Their time in Green Bay isn't over yet, but all three of them enter the final season of their respective contracts, and none of them are guaranteed to return beyond 2014.

Williams and Bush represent the Old Guard, both members of the Super Bowl XLV team in Green Bay and neither no longer on the sunny side of 30 years old. Bush enters his ninth season in the NFL in 2014. Williams, his eighth.

No, the professional football careers of Williams and Bush may not come to a close in 2014, but neither is going to make as much in the next contract as they earned in the previous one.

If either Williams or Bush sign another contract with the Packers, it'll be a short-term deal.

Whether or not that happens is a matter for the future. For the time being, they're in the fold for the season at hand, perhaps their Swan Song in Titletown.

The Packers can hope Williams and Bush will perhaps be motivated by the opportunity to be a part of a championship-caliber team in the same way that tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher were in 2010.

Williams is the incumbent starter opposite Shields, which doesn't figure to change.

After playing strong down the stretch last season with four interceptions in the last eight games (including playoffs), Williams showed he may have finally put his shoulder injury from 2011 behind him and is still very capable of making a big-time impact.

For Bush, it's status quo. Despite his shining moment last season when he broke up a pass and later intercepted another intended for future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez in a win over the Atlanta Falcons, Bush will likely only see spot duty on defense.

The role for Bush, same as its been the past several years, will be special teams demon: the guy gunning down returners and downing punts inside the five-yard line.

The situation for House, however, is different. At just 24 years old and entering his fourth year in the NFL, House is in the final year of his rookie contract.

Potentially, House can play a big role in Green Bay for seasons to come, but he's going to have to earn it.

Up to now, the former fourth round draft choice has done little in his first three years in the NFL, intercepting just one pass. But House is coming off his best season as a professional. For the first time in his career, he played in all 16 games, breaking up 10 passes and grabbing his lone interception.

With Williams' future also uncertain, the Packers could be looking for a starter in 2015 and beyond. House has as good an opportunity as anyone to become an eventual starter, especially on the perimeter of the field, although Casey Hayward and new sixth round draft choice Demetri Goodson will have a say as well.

The futures of Williams, Bush and House probably won't be determined until next offseason. But how they perform in 2014 will likely play a large part in what the Packers decide to do at cornerback.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (19) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Stroh's picture

While its unlikely either Williams or Bush return, I wouldn't say that's the case w/ House. As mentioned House could earn a starting job or at the least a 3rd CB job if Hayward becomes the other outside starter. House would still likely be in on a lot of snaps coming off the bench. Next year the starters could be Shields and House w/ Hayward coming off the bench or it could be Shields and Hayward w/ House coming off the bench to play outside w/ Hayward moving to the slot.

However, even if House doesn't earn one of the top 3 CB jobs, he could very easily step into Bush's role as the ST role.

IMO the only way House leaves GB is if he plays really well but Hayward is much better and another team is eager to sign House to be a starter to a big money contract and the Packers figure they won't be able to afford Shields, Hayward and House earning starter money.

L's picture

I'd say it's very possible that Williams receives a 2 or 3 year offer from the Pack depending on how he performs this year and for his leadership qualities, but it won't be for top dollars and that's not to say he accepts it either.

Bush is gone. period.

House has this year to prove that he can take on a bigger special teams role and demonstrate that he's grown and developed even further as a big physical outside cornerback. If he demonstrates these things then he too will receive a reasonable 2 or 3 year offer from the Pack for what he's shown thus far and where the Pack expect him to get to. Unless injuries strike he probably won't have the opportunities to showcase if he can be a starting cornerback which is why I think there will be very good value in his next contract for the Pack if he really has those capabilities and shows them in the following years.

Stroh's picture

I agree Williams could be back. I just consider it unlikely given that the Packers don't usually re-sign 30+ yrs olds to extensions. His play at the end of last year was excellent and it would be a shame to see him move on and play a few more productive years for another team. If he plays '14 like he did the end of last year he could earn another contract. He also plays a position that doesn't take a beating on his body. CB is one position players can play very well into their 30's, as was evidenced by Harris and Woodson.

I do think its likely the Packers bring House back, especially if he shows more consistency than he has to date. But if he shows a big jump its possible he could price himself out of GB, Especially if Tramon has another good/quality season. At that point the Packers might have to make a decision between House or Williams. Which direction do you think the Packers would go? Cuz I don't think they can afford to pay both starter money, not w/ Hayward coming up the next year.

L's picture

I agree with what you're saying and I'm not sure who they'd choose if they both played extremely well. If I had to guess though in that scenario it would be that the Packers at least attempt to resign and keep both; however, they'll probably attempt resigning Williams prior to House in order to find out if they should go harder at House if Williams turned them down. I say this because of his age and probable future upside; then again, maybe I have this backwards -- maybe they go after House first because of his age and potential growth before concerning themselves with how to fit a contract under the cap for Williams.

Stroh's picture

If House steps up and shows to be a legit starting CB, IMO the Packers would sign him first to lock up the younger player to a long term contract, then try to see if they can get Tramon back on the cheap. I think its unlikely they would both be back.

JimTaylor31's picture

House will have to step up his game AND stay on the field or he will probably be gone. If he can do both, then he has a good chance of returning or at least earning a decent paycheck elsewhere. I like Tramon and if he keeps playing at a high level then I'd be much in favor of bringing him back. Bush? Maybe come back at a decent rate for a ST player. My guess would be Tramon returns as a starter, Bush at a low price and House moves on. Hope I'm wrong about House as it would be great if he can get it in gear.

Imma Fubared's picture

When I hear step it up my take is maybe what we see is all there is. Datone IMHO has shown his stuff and it ain't good. Why do people just assume this is the year? It may never be the year for a lot of guys.

Clay Zombo's picture

Your not wrong but history has shown that not all players come into this league NFL ready. Take a guy like Jordy Nelson for example, he played ok if sparingly his first 2 years in the league and then boom, stud in his 3rd year, which is not uncommon for the WR position.

Some guys come in and don't take their jobs all that seriously, they party, have a good time and do just enough to keep their jobs. As they mature some start to realize it takes more effort to be good or great and they work at it more.

You can start to see some of that in Davon House, last year he got some meaningful playing time and he played decently well so maybe it stoked his fire. Now hes trying Yoga and staying after practice to catch tennis balls trying to improve hand eye coordination, you know the little things that can help.

You talk about Datone Jones like you've seen everything he has, yet he played most of last year on a significantly sprained ankle. You really have no clue what the guy is capable of when truly healthy. Why not give the guy 3 years before passing judgement as that is the standard for judging draft picks.

Finally, the changes on defense give me hope that Capers will truly start playing guys to their strengths and not force them into some predetermined role. House is long and lanky and should probably be a press CB most of the time and play under man coverage where hes between the QB and the WR with help over the top. That will force a QB to be perfect with his throws or risk INTs or tipped balls that could be intercepted.

4thand1's picture

Its the same old song and dance with the doom and gloom people. It gets old real quick. Must suck to live a miserable pessimistic existence of a life. Maybe the Pack should go 0-16 and they'd be happy.

cpheph1's picture

To be the 2nd team to do it would really suck...I don't get the pessimistic POV prior to preseason either but oh well...

I definitely do not have to tell you to keep the faith! I know there's a lot of fans out there that experienced the 70's like I did...

I wonder how big the band wagon will get this year?...

BradHTX's picture

All good points and well presented, Clay, but as regards people like this poster, the key words from your reply are, "You really have no clue."

cpheph1's picture

1st off, great name CZ...WRT how many DBs I think House is #7 db ATT but could move into the top 6. I think that is a good thing. I'm convinced that Devon will contribute, possibly significantly, this year. I think I'd bet more beers on Devon being extended contract wise than Tramon but would like to see both return in '15.

I'm obviously a glass half full kinda guy!...

One other DB that intrigues me is Sean Richardson.

I wish the 53 man roster was more like 56+ this year. Again, I admit I'm a homer but I'm also a proud stockholder since 96/97. I think we've got pretty damn good depth on paper.

I typically attempt to guess who the final 53 will be but have not guessed right during Ted's tenure. This year my general WAG is 26-27 defensive players & I still will probably be wrong. Regardless, I'm very optimistic about the team...management, coaching, & players we're solid.

8 OL & 2 QB & 14 skill position. I'm convinced only 4 RBs (includes Kuhn) make it; so is it 6 WRs or 5 TEs?...trades are so hard to consumemate. Can't Wait until training camp & preseason...pads-on!

I've got my fingers crossed wrt injury bug...what can ya say.

This team could be special...glass half full perspective.

The most intriging thing I'm watching is contract extension talks WRT Jordy & Cobb. My favorite of the two is Jordy...but will be quite disapointed if both are not resigned...because QBs need 2-3 dynamite receivers. The great thing IMO is Eddie Lacy will make things easier for #12! Brett had Ahman but Aaron has Eddie...pretty cool IMO.

Go Pack!

Stroh's picture

Your right, you ARE Fubared!!

cpheph1's picture

What is your favorite beer besides Strohs?...Is it still brewed?

I like Lienies...& Guiness.

Stroh's picture

LOL The names not after the beer particularly, but I understand why you would think that... Nickname from childhood, a friend always mispronounced my last name w/ the R and it ended up sticking. Might have had a little to do w/ the Beer to I guess, To long ago to remember for sure.

Definitely a Lienies guy, but hard to find down here in AZ. Otherwise stick w/ a miller lite most times.

cpheph1's picture

Cool...AZ eh? Been to Scottsdale & loved the area. We get Lienies in the Omaha area plus I'm not that far from childhood homeland.

Cheers!

Stroh's picture

Lived in Scotts for the past 7 yrs. Moved down to chandler in just the last year. Cut down my commute to work by 15 min. Got tired of a 40 min drive 2x a day.

Handsback's picture

I think Bush is beaten out this year by Goodman who will only be on special teams. I don't think House stays past this year and in two years you see Goodman, Hayward, Shields as the three corners.

Handsback's picture

I think Bush is beaten out this year by Goodman who will only be on special teams. I don't think House stays past this year and in two years you see Goodman, Hayward, Shields as the three corners.

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