Determining Tramon Williams’ Worth


With free agency looming, the Green Bay Packers are left to make some difficult decisions facing 12 free agents to be and a lack of available cap space. Among these 12 is aging cornerback Tramon Williams, who the Packers will likely find they cannot afford.

Joel Corry of projects Green Bay to have just more than $23 million in available cap space this offseason. But if inclined to sign wide receiver Randall Cobb to the $9 million a year deal he’s asking for, not much would be left over to worry about remaining free agents, let alone draft picks.

The biggest question is what kind of contract Williams is looking for. Turning 32 in March and coming off a four-year, $33 million deal, one can guess that the veteran corner won’t be cheap.

Courtesy of, below is a quick look at the 2014 free-agent class of cornerbacks, along with the associated contract signed:

Aqib Talib (28): 6-year, $57 million
Brandon Browner (30): 3-year, $12.35 million
Darrelle Revis (29): 1-year, $12 million
Cortland Finnegan (30): 2-year, $11 million
Antonio Cromartie (30): 1-year, $3.5 million
Charles Tillman (33): 1-year, $3.25 million

All over the board, right? Now, let’s first assume that Williams will be demanding the last big contract of his career and isn’t willing to settle for a one-year deal like Cromartie or Tillman. Green Bay also cannot afford to convince Williams into a large one-year rental like Revis’ $12 million contract, so we’ll toss that idea as well.

On the other hand, Browner and Finnegan signed multi-year deals averaging $4.1 and $5.5 million, respectively. This amount wouldn’t be completely out of range for the Packers.

Signing Williams to an average of $5 million a season, combined with Cobb’s aforementioned $9 million, would leave Green Bay in a position to sign all draft picks and make a conscious effort to sign the remaining free agents.

Remember that these corners were not coming off of perfect seasons. New England signed Browner knowing he’d be suspended for the first quarter of the season. Additionally, Finnegan was coming off of an injury-filled season which included only seven games played.

Quick note. Recent speculation has included releasing linebackers A.J. Hawk or Brad Jones, along with possibly restructuring Julius Peppers‘ contract. This would certainly add additional revenue to this argument. But since this has not yet happened and remains speculation, it is not fair to include within this estimate.

The difficulty is determining Williams’ actual worth. For the 2014-15 season, Williams ranked 36th among all defensive backs with 70 total tackles, the second highest total of his career. Additionally, the seven-year pro tied for 26th among defensive backs for interceptions with three.

Grading cornerbacks simply on a stat line, however, is completely subjective. Remember that Williams would typically match up against the opposition’s top receiving threat. Depending on the offensive system faced, this could either lead to an increase of passes his way, or the exact opposite.

For example, a team like Detroit will continue to throw in the direction of Calvin Johnson, no matter who is covering him. A team like Atlanta, however, can afford to choose between Roddy White or Julio Jones, depending on match ups.

The biggest issue is Williams’ colleague in the defensive backfield, 25-year-old cornerback Davon House. Also a free agent to be, House feels he’s ready to be a starter in the NFL. This also means that House is expecting a paycheck equal to a starting cornerback as well.

Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that House would likely require a contract larger than Williams, meaning Green Bay certainly cannot afford both.

So do the Packers put faith in an aging corner with not much left in the tank, or take a risk on an unproven and injury-prone player? Best guess is that GM Ted Thompson picks the latter and takes a chance on House.

In several games this past season, House was able to hold his own playing as a boundary corner. One would then expect to see the likes of Shields and House playing outside, with teammates Casey Hayward and Micah Hyde watching the slot.

The situation is not perfect. But as described earlier, the Packers simply cannot afford to keep both Williams and House. While a risky decision in the short-term, House makes more sense looking three or four seasons down the road. Therefore, it would be best for fans to come to terms with Williams’ likely departure from Green Bay.

More from Dairyland Express