Tramon Williams’ celebrated his 32nd birthday today by escaping free agency’s version of the green room. Tramon has been signed by the Cleveland Browns to start opposite Joe Haden.
By offering Williams a three year contract worth $21 million, the Browns priced the Packers and the rest of planet Earth out of the market for Tramon’s services. As usual in the immediate aftermath of a signing, the further details of the contract are not available. So, we do not yet know if the Browns will be obligated to honor the contract for all three years, or if it is front-loaded, allowing the Browns to jettison Williams in a year or two if his play falters.
The Packers were not willing to offer Tramon more than a two year contract, which essentially amounted to a “prove it” contract where he would be kept only as long as he performed. Obviously, that isn’t the kind of security that anyone would be looking for. However, the Brown’s premium offer likely made all of that a moot point anyway.
As I anticipated, this clears the way for Casey Hayward to start opposite Sam Shields for the Packers. Hayward was a 2nd round pick in 2012 and will be in the final year of his rookie contract in 2015. The Packers need to know now whether Hayward can be the starter that they hoped for when they drafted him. Still, with only Micah Hyde and Demetri Goodson behind Hayward on the depth chart, expect the Packers to draft for this position again within the first 4 rounds of the draft.
This closes the book on a player who was signed by Ted Thompson after going undrafted in 2006. Tramon Williams’ raw athleticism and hard work eventually transformed him into a top NFL corner. After becoming a starter in 2008, through seven seasons Tramon amassed 464 tackles and 28 interceptions.
Tramon will probably best be remembered for the interceptions he made against Philadelphia and Atlanta in the playoffs following the 2010 season. The pick against Philadelphia sealed the game for the Packers in the closing seconds, and Tramon returned the pick against the Falcons for a touchdown to stake the Packers out to a 28-14 halftime lead, which they would never relinquish.
That play also remains synonymous with one of my favorite football calls of all time, as Joe Buck exclaimed, “It’s picked off! Tramon Williams! He could go! Matt Ryan tried to bite off some more yards, and he JUST GOT BURNED!!”
We wish Tramon Williams good luck in Cleveland, and we’ll see you again the day you are inducted into the Packer Hall of Fame.