Bring Back Tramon Williams

 
Happy birthday, Tramon Williams. The future Green Bay Packer Hall of Famer has a lot to celebrate today after 13 remarkable NFL seasons in which he’s logged 34 career interceptions. The Packers brought Williams back on a two-year deal before the 2018 season. However, that deal is now up, and the team will have to decide on a guy that is somehow still winning a bout against father time. Is it the end of an era or does a 37-year-old Williams have another year or two left in him?
 
Williams bounced back last year after an unspectacular year in 2018. In his return season to Green Bay, he failed to record an interception for the first time in his career, despite starting all 16 games. It wasn’t a black eye of a year necessarily for Williams, but the Packers probably expected more. Especially after what he did in the season prior with the Arizona Cardinals.
 
In his one-year stint with the Cardinals, Pro Football Focus gave Williams a grade of 88.8, which was ninth in the league among qualifying corners. However, what Williams accomplished last season proved his fight with retirement isn’t over. He bounced back, making two interceptions, recovering two fumbles, forcing one, and finishing tied for third on the team with eight defended passes. 
 
As always, Williams was a rock in Green Bay’s secondary.
 
He may not be able to move as well as he once was, but don’t be mistaken, Williams is still an effective player. Whether it’s lining up on the outside, in the slot, or at safety, the elder statesman of the Packers’ defense still holds his own. Not to mention, his value as a leader in an otherwise young secondary is invaluable.  
 
With the league year expected to start on time in spite of a worldwide health crisis, Green Bay will have to make a decision on Williams very soon. The team knows what they will be getting, but with little cap space to divulge, every dollar is consequential.
 
Williams’ previous deal paid $10 million over two years. For the team’s return on investment, it was worth it. Again, the Packers will be able to sign him for pretty cheap, but age will catch up with Williams sooner rather than later. That's the risk. However, he’s still their best starting nickel unless they feel a lesser-experienced Chandon Sullivan is ready for an increased workload in 2020.
 
At this point, Green Bay might as well sign Williams for one more year as a security blanket and allow the younger guys more time to pick the brain of a proven veteran. It will also give them a better shot at being in contention. With Williams on the roster, the defense is better all-around.

 

 

Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

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Comments (22)

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NickPerry's picture

March 16, 2020 at 06:30 am

Tough call on Williams, at 37 the bottom could fall out at any time. But what he might lose in skills from January to September, he makes up for in veteran savvy and leadership. The Packers do have others that should be able to step up and lead in the secondary, but there's something about having #38 out there that calms me. With the lack of depth they currently have I'd like to see him back in Green Bay.

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Handsback's picture

March 16, 2020 at 07:47 am

No reason not to bring him back. If he gets beat out, then you cut him and the impact would be minimum. Then make him part of the organization.
He will lose his position spot because of talent, his declining or others having better skills. Either way competition is always welcomed in TC.

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Guam's picture

March 16, 2020 at 08:00 am

There are at least two reasons not to bring him back - (1) he takes plays and development time away from Sullivan and Hollman and (2) he takes cap space away from other, greater needs.

Sullivan will be a third year player and Hollman a second year player, years where they should make their biggest jump. You don't want to stifle their development for a player that has at most one year left.

The money used to resign Williams could be used to resign Marcedes Lewis or help sign an IDL free agent. Williams has been a great Packer and should be a candidate for the Packer Hall of Fame, but it is time to move on.

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dobber's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:01 am

I would normally agree on Sullivan and Hollman, but...
1. CB is a high attrition position and frequently you put 4-5 on the field at one time. They'll get snaps.
2. if the Packers are really in more of a win-now mode, they won't want to rely so much on the development of bottom-roster CBs like Hollman, Kabion Ento, or some other draft pick or UDFA.
3. bringing back Williams on a 1-year deal is relatively low-risk and allows the Packers to not use higher end draft capital on a CB unless the opportunity is too good to pass up.

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Guam's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:16 am

Hollman got virtually no snaps last year. If you bring back the same cast of CBs, how do you figure he will get enough development time?

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dobber's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:35 am

The Packers were remarkably healthy at CB in 2019. I don't expect that to happen again...and I hope BG doesn't expect it to happen again.

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PeteK's picture

March 16, 2020 at 07:50 am

We need to improve the speed and tackling of our secondary ,so signing Williams only exacerbates that problem.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 16, 2020 at 08:44 am

I love Tramon but he’s not a physical run defender and you are exactly right about how this is an opportunity to put a more aggressive run defender on the field.

We are going to have basically the same defense as last year, minus Martinez and probably Tramon. These two guys were on the field for most snaps. If you replace them with better defenders, it improves the defense. It’s going to be difficult to upgrade Martinez; Tramon will be easier.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 16, 2020 at 12:09 pm

They will draft another CB, maybe by the third round? Tramon was a step late on some of his coverage. Looked good vs the greenhorn QBs, but can be isolated in space by better passing games.

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stockholder's picture

March 16, 2020 at 07:54 am

I understand he's done well. But: We have to move on. - He left, one time for money. So why the loyalty? His age has caught up with him. Crosby got his money. We have a terrible run defense. It isn't going to get better, if we don't use the money elsewhere. The pressure is on. No Disrespect intended. Younger ,stronger ,faster. Save the Bucks for a greater Need.

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CAG123's picture

March 16, 2020 at 08:17 am

Come on let’s not be ridiculous we all know how this goes you’re feeling all good about your ageless vet in the secondary then boom a wall pops up out of nowhere and all of a sudden he looks 55! Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, Champ Bailey, Revis, hell Patrick Peterson is 7 years younger and he’s looking washed already what makes Williams any different than these guys? It’s going to happen so why even play that game? Thank Williams and let him walk.

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Lphill's picture

March 16, 2020 at 08:34 am

Packers signed Christen Kirksey.

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CAG123's picture

March 16, 2020 at 08:40 am

That one pissed me off how do you go from ascending healthy players to one that’s been hurt the past 2 years? And he’s not even that nice to be taking a chance like that on him.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 16, 2020 at 12:11 pm

He's cheaper.

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dobber's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:05 am

The injuries are a concern, but the torn pec in 2019 is not a recurring issue, so I don't fault him that going forward any more than I would a player with a broken arm. It's not as much of a concern as the soft-tissue leg injuries that were a problem in 2018.

Still...he's a marginal upgrade over Martinez, he's still at his peak, and will likely end up costing less. It's a short term deal, so the Packers are out when he's 30.

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TarynsEyes's picture

March 16, 2020 at 09:51 am

Why is it so difficult with Packer fans and moving on from veterans.

Time Marches On _ Song by Tracy Lawrence

'The only thing that stays the same is Everything Changes'.

To understand this and the stagnation that staying still brings about, you must first learn to say and accept that goodbye is an underused word and its lack of use is responsible for many a lingering problem.

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CAG123's picture

March 16, 2020 at 09:59 am

Agreed all good things must come to an end Father Time is undefeated he’ll get his in the end. If the Packers were to resign him and he looks old “all of a sudden” then they wasted valuable cap space.

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Thegravedigger's picture

March 18, 2020 at 12:55 am

Its because there packer fans. And we love the packers. Emotions are involved. Time does march on. But it still sucks. Just like the end of that song. Brothers got high cholesterol and pops is under the maple tree. Shit is sad. Dont wanna see my boy tramon go. But if they are gonna run with sullivan jackson and hollman as the 3rd 4th and 5th corners then they do need a big bodied run stuffer to give those guys some 3rd and longs.

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Packer_Fan's picture

March 16, 2020 at 09:53 am

I would say bring him back too. But the lower total amount and the now higher costs for the low end players, it is going to be difficult to sign Willaims. I was hoping to release Taylor or even Lindsey to get more cap space. But this hasn't happened. The Pack still need to fill the OT hole and perhaps get a mid-level WR or DL. We will know all this in a few days.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:54 am

Running out of money after signing Wagner and Kirksey. On Tramon, his cap hit was 36% of AAV year one and 63% year two. Figure something similar for these two. $13.5 AAV ($5.5 and 8) x .4 = 5.40 or more of $16.5M cap space is probably gone. Got Clark and maybe Bakh to do. Very tough to finagle the cap hit on a one year deal: leaves really just incentives, and Tramon played a lot so most of them would LTBE and count against the cap.

Neither of those signings precludes GB from taking an ILB or OT if the right one is there at 30 or 62. Neither one looks like a long-term fix, so the draft priority shouldn't completely change.

Still need a DL and a WR.

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sheikhwaleed's picture

March 17, 2020 at 07:07 am

Happy birthday to you Tramon Williams. I am your biggest fan.

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Thegravedigger's picture

March 18, 2020 at 01:12 am

If they had a few more million id say yes get it done. But they dont. If its between a nickel corner and Michael pierce. Then obviously after last season its pierce. Pierce kenny Clark and the smiths with lowry as a situation guy. Stuffing the run will take the pressure off of the young reserve corners. Tramon covered well most games. But he got run over and beat down against san fran. I just hope teams 3rd receivers dont come in and light us up this year like they did against the jarrett bush and quentin rollins. Cus it is easy to overlook the corner who is doing his job. Cus yall could say whatever about tramon but he mostly did a well above average job last year and the stats back that up. Still. Big man up front needs to be done first.

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