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Tramon Williams' Return Helps Mitigate CB Woes -- Sorta

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Tramon Williams' Return Helps Mitigate CB Woes -- Sorta

-- Another one of Mike Pettine's former disciples is expected to sign with the Green Bay Packers relatively soon.

Except he was a disciple of coach Mike McCarthy long before he served under the Packers' new defensive coordinator.

Cornerback Tramon Williams is expected to meet with the team and finalize a two-year deal, as reported by the NFL Network's James Jones.

Williams enjoyed an eight-year stint with the Packers after being one of former G.M. Ted Thompson's top undrafted signings during the 2006 season. A career in Green Bay that encompassed 28 interceptions, 99 starts, 114 pass deflections and almost 400 tackles.

He'll get more than enough chances to add to the impressive resume in 2018 because it isn't like the Packers signed Williams just to round out their depth chart.

At 35 years old, Williams can still play.

Williams' lone season with the Cardinals saw him mostly playing on the perimeter significantly more than in the slot, contrary to popular belief. He is, however, capable of playing both positions if the Packers choose to implement him in various facets. He was no slouch in any of these coverages, either.

According to Pro Football Focus, Williams allowed a 58.4 passer rating on throws that were made into his coverage window. That was the lowest recorded rating amongst any free agent cornerback.

Williams also had a passer rating of 1.0 -- seriously -- when targeted in man coverage. He was targeted 21 times, the same as former Packers cornerback Casey Hayward, yet, Hayward's rating was 16.7 notches higher than Williams'.

The expectation likely isn't for Williams to start, but to provide a solid, reliable foundation that's available when needed. One of the Packers' biggest downfalls in recent years has been the underwhelming result of having to depend on undrafted free agents as depth and expecting them to perform at a high level when thrown into game action. With Williams, they won't have to.

The Packers could also re-sign Davon House on a cheap deal to pair him with Williams, and that's certainly a possibility given how helpful House was a season ago when healthy.

Suddenly, an early-round cornerback paired with last year's 33rd overall pick in Kevin King, Williams, House and either Lenzy Pipkins or another option on the roster -- or elsewhere -- to round out the depth chart, and the Packers may not be in as grim of a situation at cornerback as initially perceived.

Williams' return is more than just a nostalgia kick, but it's a sign -- even if just a slight one -- that the Packers know what weak points on their roster need to be addressed. Albeit may have taken some time for G.M. Brian Gutekunst to make a move at improving the position.

Still, a lot of work is left to be done in restocking certain positions that require building the most competitive roster possible.

Williams is the second ex-Pettine player to be signed by the Packers this offseason, joining defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, who the Packers stocked their pass rush with at the start of free agency.


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (59) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Cubbygold's picture

"The expectation likely isn't for Williams to start, but to provide a solid, reliable foundation that's available when needed"

If the expectation is that someone better than TW is starting, then the team better be using most of their remaining $13Mish in cap space to sign gains/breeland or someone similar. The game plan can't be to start King and a rookie, and I'm not sure I'd consider Hyde a better option than TW.

dobber's picture

Gaines is already headed for Cleveland on a fairly cheap, one-year deal.

RobinsonDavis's picture

$4-5 million. Seems to be the current market.

kevgk's picture

if a rookie can play at the level king did last year (or better for a 14th pick) than I don't see why not. Young fiery talent with a few rookie mistakes is preferable to a 35 yr old

holmesmd's picture

Williams has been the most productive CB in the NFL over the last decade per PFF. Who cares how old he is if he can still play?! 40 is the new 30 folks. I’ve stayed here on numerous threads that this was a wise “no brainer” decision for GB. House should be next ASAP

pooch's picture

WTF he will be starting,these writer have no clue

GBPDAN1's picture

Just read this:

"The Browns have reached an agreement with free agent cornerback E.J. Gaines, according to Mike Garafolo of (Twitter link). It’s a one-year deal worth $4MM, while an additional $1MM is available via incentives, per Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link). Mary Kay Cabot of first reported Cleveland was nearing a deal with Gaines.

Not only did the Browns trade veteran Jason McCourty to the Patriots in exchange for pennies, but they’ve also signed free agents T.J. Carrie and Terrance Mitchell to multi-year deals.

Heading into free agency, PFR ranked Gaines as the fourth-best cornerback on the market and the No. 18 free agent overall.

Gaines, 26, appeared in 11 games for the Bills a season ago after being traded as part of the Sammy Watkins deal. During that time, Gaines ranked 12th in Pro Football Focus’ cornerback grades and ninth in Football Outsiders’ success rate. A former sixth-round pick, Gaines has started 37 total games.

With Gaines off the market, the free agent cornerback class is now comprised of options such as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Bashaud Breeland, Delvin Breaux, Dontae Johnson, and Jeremy Lane. "

4M for a 26 year old CB with 37 games starting experience. Ranked 4th best CB on the FA market and ranked 12th in Pro Football Focus’ cornerback grades and ninth in Football Outsiders’ success rate. Wouldn't this have been a better signing then landing a soon to be 36 year old CB? Just asking.

Cubbygold's picture

Isn't king theguy that were hoping can match up withthe big recievers thought? So wouldn't gains complement that?

Cubbygold's picture

Yeah I'm thinking in a similar way. At that price, why couldn't both be brought on? $17M cap space, TW will prob drop that to $13. Plenty of room to add a giy of that caliber to help strengthen the biggest weakness on the team.

RobinsonDavis's picture

I was wondering if the Packers would take a stab at that price, especially given his youth coupled with experience. Gaines has been known as a tenacious, technique player, but his size (addressed above) and injury history, according to some writers, had teams wary. Given what Gaines signed for, the concerns do appear to have affected his perceived value. Yet, IMO, this is where the old Packers would take some risk. They obviously have another plan which may be Davon House.

Cubbygold's picture
jeremyjjbrown's picture

Brothers Jackass...

RobinsonDavis's picture

What a jerk! Wonder if the mainstream media will push this as a social issue? A paraplegic woman nonetheless.

lou's picture

“Michael Bennett represents the best of the NFL — a leader on his team and in his community,” Goodell said. “Our foremost concern is the welfare of Michael and his family.

Wonder if Roger feels as stupid as his statement.

Since '61's picture

Goodell is as stupid as his statement regardless of how he feels.
Thanks, Since '61

flackcatcher's picture

If I could, I up vote this a million times.......

Tundraboy's picture

Well put 61. Have to remember that phrase.

4thand1's picture

He must have thought she was a cop.

worztik's picture

What are we talking about??? Las Vegas??? I never heard the peculiars on that deal...

GBPDAN1's picture

Great family. One quits on his team (sucks we still carry a 4.2 M cap hit) and the other pushes paraplegic woman. The Bennett brothers

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"His off coverage technique"...

I wasn't expecting Pettine to call much off coverage. It will be interesting how it works out.

FTS Messamore's picture

He also had Patrick Peterson on the opposite side. I hope he stays healthy though.

RCPackerFan's picture

I have seen this a few times. Having Peterson opposite of him should mean he would get more passes his way right? Which to me makes it more impressive.

Cubbygold's picture


dobber's picture

It also means he's more likely to be getting safety help.

Lare's picture

Two years for $10 million? That seems a little high for a 35 year old cornerback considering what some of the other younger ones are signing for.

dobber's picture

It seems very pricey...I wonder how much was guaranteed?

Bure9620's picture

Because the CB FA market is drying up, had to be some competition

Similis's picture

We should wait to see the contract before thinking that. Almost every single time a contract is leaked, the real numbers show a different story. 2/10 could be 5/5, 3/7, 9/1, 1/9... my point is it's not automatically 5/5 like people seem to think when hearing the numbers.

The second year could very easily be pumped up to make the contract look better in headlines. It's pretty doubtful that he'll play out the second year of that contract anyway, so why not make it impressive looking for the player to make him happy?

dobber's picture

Yep. Where is the guaranteed money, and how much?

worztik's picture

Exactly Dob... could be $100 a game with incentives like:
1) Not having a heart attack or stroke while playing...
2) Not using a walker on the field...
3) No use of a cane, either...
4) Making sure his false teeth are taken out...
5) Drinking plenty of unsweetened cherry juice for Gout before games...
6) Having a urine catheter in place prior to kickoff...
7) Fecal cohesion at all times...
8) Hearing aides optional for another bonus...
9) Pacemaker fully ready with new batteries...
And 10) Lining up on the correct side of the line of scrimmage!!! This should satisfy all of those who believe he’s over the hill, which I do NOT think he is!!!
Just speculating on a Friday afternoon in Wausau.....
GO PACK GO... BYE JORDY BYE... miss ya already!!!

Bure9620's picture

You forgot the part of his contract which states he gets the early bird special at old country buffet for free

The TKstinator's picture

You had me at “fecal cohesion”!

Johnblood27's picture

wow, just wow.

age based pay? age discrimination lawsuit anyone?

RCPackerFan's picture

I'm happy to have Williams back. I have seen reports that they are still interested in bringing House back.

They were also said to be interested in Breeland. I do wonder if they will go after him?

IMO, the best scenario would be to bring House back, or Breeland having them drafting 2 CB's fairly high 2 within the first 4 rounds and let them develop.

Signing Williams was a really good smart move. Now its time to finish the position with another signing and the draft.

lou's picture

Don't count out a trade for a veteran CB during the draft or after the draft. If a team is able to acquire a CB they covet during the draft they assumed would not be available they may cut a veteran because of salary concerns, that goes for other positions as well shortly after the draft. One other avenue is during the pre-season games a rookie or young veteran makes a big jump leading to moving a veteran CB to settle the opening day roster. A lot of things can happen before opening day.

Bret Iverson's picture

Lets bring back Woodson for a reunion of the ages.

Finwiz's picture

Yeah, let's get Al Harris too.
And Mike McKenzie.

lou's picture

Loved McKenzie, he was the 3rd DB drafted that year behind Edwards and Vinson (both busts) and started from day 1 as a rookie just like Willie Buchanon. He had a nice 12 year career and got his Super Bowl ring with the Saints. Edwards and Vincent joined Ahmad Carroll and Vinny Clark as the biggest DB draft busts in team history.

dobber's picture

Fred Vinson didn't do much for the Packers...except net Ahman Green (and a draft pick) in trade from the Seahawks.

worztik's picture

That’s how all Packers trades should turn out!!! We drafted 3 CBs that year... Mike McKinzie... Freddy and I can’t remember the 3rd... worked out very well...

marpag1's picture

Actually the Packers and the Seahawks swapped picks. It was Fred Vinson and D6 (185) in exchange for Ahman Green and D5 (151) in one of the greatest trades short of Brett Favre and the Falcons.

lou's picture

If I remember right, I think Vinson suffered an ACL playing basketball before his first season with the Hawks and that pretty much ended his career. The Hawk's got us back though, the Hasselback for a #1 which turned out to be Jamal Reynolds.

worztik's picture

What was Edwards first name???

dobber's picture


worztik's picture

Willie Buchanon was a STUD!!!

Tundraboy's picture

You don't downvote anything about Buchanon.

lou's picture

Stud is right, he was the best CB in the league the first day he took the field, during what could have been called OTA's then Dan Devine showed films of him playing at San Diego State to the veteran DB's as a teaching tool and it infuriated them.

worztik's picture

And Herb Adderly and Weelie Woodrow... maybe Doug Hart and Chuck Cecil if we’d like some penalties and ejections, too!!! How ‘bout Johnny Gray???

Since '61's picture

Johnny Gray played safety. Thanks, Since '61

dobber's picture

Underrated S. One of my favorite all-time Packers.

Tundraboy's picture


lou's picture

Gray does some Packer TV specials on WLUK, Channel 11 in Green Bay and was the YMCA Director for many years. He currently is the NFL "fashion policeman", checks out the uniforms before each home game. Humble guy and still built really solid, looks like he could still play like Ezra Johnson does.

Tundraboy's picture

Woodson? Sure, I think he would make a hell of a coach.

PatrickGB's picture

"Not to start" ! why not start him?

John Kirk's picture

If we're looking at this as all things being relative, Tramon is an upgrade.

It's pretty sad when you're forced into paying 5 million a year for a 35 year old CB.

Curious to see how much he's dropped off as a 35 year old corner. Wheels are coming off anytime now.

CheesyTex's picture

Terence Newman had four good years starting at 35, and is still going. There are exceptions, and I hope -- no, I think Williams has at least two good years left.

jww061356's picture

I think this is a very good signing. He is high end depth for whats out there, and at the very least an upgrade at nickel corner. And these kids need a mentor.

John Kirk's picture

This article indicates or doesn't think the idea is Tramon will start. I disagree. That is exactly what he was signed to do. They didn't pay him that to have him be a role player.

Clearly, this was plan C or D as to fixing the CB position. Yes, it's less expensive but in this case you get what you pay for. I know it's comforting to some that Tramon is back but it isn't to me. It's kind of like putting on your cleanest pair of dirty underwear. You don't have what you want so you make due the best you can, but the result is still not ideal. This CB fix is looking a lot like last year just as I'd feared in several postings here. Part 2 is our 1st pick at the position on a player that is a reach.

Every time I hear or read his name I can't help but think of his last play with Green Bay at Seattle. Hard hurdle to get over recalling that memory and then thinking after 3 years away he's our starting CB at 35. He's not better than the guy we chose to move on from who turned 32 right after we let him go...he's worse. He was seen as not the solution at CB 3 years ago, but now he's the solution 3 years later? We could've had him last year instead of House. Davon House was seen as a better option than Tramon last season but now Tramon is a great move this year? A panic move that placates fans because they remember the good Tramon Williams from many years ago and read PFF grades and have fans citing Terrance Newman comps. T-New played in some very good defenses. Easier to hide a CB in a great defense. Perhaps, Pettine brings that and it works out but I'd feel a lot better with a stronger piece.

Signing Williams is just a stop gap so we'll be going through this CB thing again next year just like the last two seasons.

Ultimately, this is exactly what I wrote here a few weeks ago... the Pack would sign someone and it would be spun into more than it is just because we signed someone. Plus, again, this "fix" looks all too familiar to the "fix" from last year. I hope Brian proves me wrong. He's gotta know this looks awful and is still churning ideas to get it fixed.

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