Signing cornerback Tramon Williams to a contract extension was a great move by the Green Bay Packers, but probably not such a great move by Williams.
The Packers locked Williams up with a four-year extension averaging $8.25 million per season, in late November. With Williams’ recent performance, that looks like a bargain.
Not only did Tramon develop into the Packers’ top coverage corner this season, but he’s played lights out in the team’s biggest games.
Williams ended the Philadelphia threat in the Packers wild card victory by picking off Michael Vick in the end zone with time winding down in the fourth quarter. He did himself one better by intercepting the Falcons Matt Ryan twice last week — once in the end zone to snuff an Atlanta drive and once just before the half, which he returned for a touchdown to give the Packers a two-touchdown lead going into the break.
All of that’s great for the Packers and it’s great for Tramon, too, but the guy might be kicking himself come the offseason.
It isn’t a stretch to think Williams would have gotten $10 million per season had he reached free agency, especially when you consider the Falcons forked over a six-year, $57 million deal to Dunta Robinson last year.
In fact, there’s talk Williams could have gotten more.
“He’s a bargain at anything under $10 million a year. If he had gotten anywhere near free agency, even as a restricted guy, I know five teams that would have paid $11 or $12 million a year, easy … and they would have given up the draft picks too,” one NFC general manager said.
“He’s 100 percent legitimate. Sure, it helps having [Charles] Woodson on the other side – that was kind of the case when they had Al Harris. Now I think it’s the other way. Because Williams is so good, Woodson is the one who has more freedom than ever because you can do so many things.”
That’s high praise for a guy who wasn’t even drafted, but Tramon has earned it by steadily improving his game. Although not a lot of people are saying it, I will — Tramon Williams is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
The Packers were wise to extend his contract and general manager Ted Thompson should be commended for getting him at what’s looking like a bargain-basement price.
It’s that type of foresight that — dare I say it? — makes Thompson a pretty damn good general manager.