Packers could boost secondary depth by re-signing cornerback Tramon Williams
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers appear ready to bring back cornerback Tramon Williams for a third time and a shot at a possible second Super Bowl ring.
Williams, who made his first 53-man roster as a member of the Packers in 2007, last played for the Baltimore Ravens in their 17-3 divisional playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.
On Monday, the Ravens decided to give the 37-year-old Williams his release, which subjected him to waivers. After he cleared Tuesday, the Packers arranged to fly Williams into town Wednesday morning for an official visit, according to a source.
It means that besides giving Williams a physical examination and talking things over, they likely gave him a COVID-19 test, the results of which will be available Thursday morning. If it is negative and there are no other impediments, there’s a good chance Williams will be signed to either the practice squad or 53-man roster.
Either way, he would be eligible to play Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC championship game.
Coach Matt LaFleur undoubtedly would love to have Williams, one of the team’s hardest workers and most well-liked individuals during his two previous stints in Green Bay, back in the locker room. His presence would be a bonus in preparing for the biggest game of the year Sunday and possibly beyond.
A year ago, Williams was the team’s starting nickel corner and played 73% of the snaps, but during the offseason, general manager Brian Gutekunst decided to put his faith in Chandon Sullivan and did not re-sign Williams. It turned out to be a good move because the younger and cheaper Sullivan performed at least as well as Williams did last year.
Out of football most of the year, Williams signed with the Ravens on Nov. 10 and played in seven games, logging 191 snaps, including a season-high 55 against the New York Giants on Dec. 27.
Williams only played 12 snaps in the season finale against Cincinnati and the team’s divisional round playoff loss to the Bills. He played 23 snaps on special teams in his first three games and then did not play any more.
The Packers are likely interested in insurance in the secondary in case there is an injury. Will Redmond has been the dime corner of late and while he is on the injury list with a knee, he was a full participant in practice Wednesday.
Another area where Williams could help is on punt returns.
Over the course of his career, Williams has returned 74 punts for 663 yards (9.0 average) and a touchdown. However, he has not returned a punt since the 2018 season and likely would be a backup to Tavon Austin.
Williams broke in with the Packers as a practice squad player in 2006, made the team in ’07 and became a full-time starter in the middle of the ’09 season. He was a force during the Packers’ Super Bowl run in 2010 and was a starter until ’14, when the Packers chose not to re-sign him.
- SILVERSTEIN: Here's what must change for Packers against Buccaneers
- RELATED: What you need to know about fans at NFC title game at Lambeau Field
He played two seasons in Cleveland and one in Arizona before re-signing with the Packers in ’18. He started 23 of 32 games for the Packers in 2018 and '19.
In 10 years with the Packers, Williams played in 159 games, including 122 starts, had 30 interceptions and 559 tackles.
In addition to hosting Williams on an official visit, the Packers executed three other transactions Wednesday.
They designated for return from injured reserve inside linebacker James Burgess, cornerback Kabion Ento and cornerback Parry Nickerson. All three become eligible to practice right away and can be activated to the 53-man roster any time between now and the Super Bowl.
Burgess was a regular on special teams and could get a call up this week if the coaches think he is physically ready.