Mike Vandermause: Green Bay Packers CB Tramon Williams' agreement is a relief

Jun. 17, 2010
The Green Bay Packers can look forward to cornerback Tramon Williams reporting to practice now that he's agreed to sign his tender. File/Press-Gazette


A potentially ugly conflict between the Green Bay Packers and Tramon Williams was averted when the fourth-year cornerback accepted the teamís restricted free agent tender this week.

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An NFL source told the Press-Gazette on Wednesday that Williams accepted the Packersí $3.168 million contract offer by the Monday deadline. Nothing has been reported on the league transaction list, and Packers coach Mike McCarthy was noncommittal when asked about the status of Williams at his Wednesday press conference. But it is believed the Packers are waiting to receive Williamsí signed contract before making it official.

Unofficially, the Packers can let out a huge sigh of relief, even if itís behind closed doors, because they once again can count on Williams to play a key role on a defense that was ranked No. 2 in the NFL last year.

The Packers arenít blessed with an abundance of experienced cornerbacks on their roster, so Williamsí decision to play along with the team is a positive step.

Visions of a nasty, knock-down, drag-íem-out contract squabble had to be unsettling for the Packers. Williams hasnít participated in the teamís offseason program, and when Mondayís restricted free agent deadline passed with no apparent word of a settlement, some feared the worst.

But Williams and his agent werenít willing to force the Packersí hand. Had Williams not agreed to his tender, the Packers could have lowered their offer to $584,000. Thatís a $2.6 million pay cut, and things could have degenerated quickly after that. Thereís no telling how bitter or fractured the relationship between the Packers and Williams could have become.

There is no guarantee Williams, who obviously wants a long-term contract, will show up as required for minicamp next week, but he would be subject to fines and would only hurt himself in the process.

Williams should take a long, hard look at how Packers safety Nick Collins conducted himself a year ago.

Collins made it known he wanted a new contract, and coming off a Pro Bowl season, he rightly deserved one. But the Packers held their ground and made Collins play out the final year of his five-year contract.

Instead of pouting or holding out, Collins took the high road. He lived up to his contract and produced a second consecutive Pro Bowl season. In response, the Packers rewarded him with a four-year, $26.7 million deal in March.

When I asked Collins on Wednesday how he kept his focus on football without getting distracted by his contract situation, he replied: ďThere ainít no secret. Go play football. At the end of the day youíre still getting paid, so what are you worried about? So go play football, you deal with your situation after the season. You let your playing do the speaking.Ē

Collins said he considers his situation different than Williams. But curiously, Collinsí contract last season called for him to make almost the same salary as Williams is set to earn in 2010 ó roughly $3 million.

Collins had four seasons under his belt and a Pro Bowl berth to his credit, while Williams has played just three seasons with 20 career starts. Considering his accomplishments, Williamsí salary this season appears more than fair.

Whether he agrees, or is willing to wait another year for a new contract, remains to be seen. The Packers no doubt are hoping Williamsí decision to accept their tender this week is a good sign.

Mike Vandermause is sports editor of the Press-Gazette.

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