Tramon Williams

Tramon Williams didn’t play terribly well in 2012 and cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt has said there will be an open competition for starting jobs when the Green Bay Packers return to work.

That could well mean the end of Williams’ days as a Packer.

Although he wasn’t as bad as his injury-plagued 2011 season, Williams was far from the shutdown guy he looked like in 2010. His interceptions fell for the third straight year — he had just two this season, compared with four in 2011 and a career-high six in 2010. Williams’ number of passes defended also fell — from 22 to 16 — and he was more often than not a liability against the run.

By the end of the season, Sam Shields was far and away the Packers best cornerback. Not only did he make plays in the passing game, Shields was the secondary’s best tackler. Then there’s rookie Casey Hayward, who led the team with six picks.

Shields and Hayward appear to have the inside track at the starting jobs, but the Packers also have Davon House. House was limited by injury for much of 2012, but was actually projected as the starter opposite Williams before he hurt his shoulder in the preseason.

“It’s going to be interesting to see who are going to be the guys who run out there on Day One,” Whitt said, “because right now I couldn’t tell you who’s going to do what because the way that Sam and Casey have played. And with Tramon and House there, there’s four guys that are vying for two spots. Maybe three with nickel. It will be interesting to see who gets it.”

Assuming Shields and Hayward are the starters and House is the team’s nickel back, what happens to Williams?

I’ll tell you what — he gets cut.

Williams is due a $5.9 million base salary in 2013 (and $6.9 million in 2014). The Packers can’t afford to keep him at that number if he isn’t starting.

In fact, the team might ask Williams to take a pay cut before any sort of open competition even begins. Williams has the third-highest base salary on the team in 2013, behind only Aaron Rodgers‘ $9.25 million and Charles Woodson‘s $6.5 million.

Is he the team’s third-best player?

Far from it.

Williams isn’t even the third best member of the Packers secondary.

It’s been well documented that the Packers need to extend guys like Rodgers, Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji.

It doesn’t make much sense for them to keep a highly-paid, declining player like Williams around, especially when they have more than adequate replacements already on hand. Unfortunately, it looks like the writing is on the wall for Tramon.