Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams near-perfect play could net him long-term contract : Packers Insider

Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams near-perfect play could net him long-term contract

October 15, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Oct 16, 2010 ~ by Rob Demovsky

~Tramon Williams didn’t have enough leverage to milk a contract extension out of the Green Bay Packers this spring.

He surely does now.

Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams (38) runs with the ball in the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Williams made his desire for a long-term deal known when he skipped the offseason program. He waited until the 11th hour to sign his one-year, $3.043 million restricted free agent tender, putting his signature on the paperwork just before the June 15 deadline when teams can reduce tenders for unsigned players.

He reported for the team’s mandatory minicamp and hasn’t made a peep about his deal since.

At least not with his mouth.

His play, however, speaks for itself, and it screams dollar signs.

Through five games, the Packers’ starting right cornerback has played near perfect football. According to STATS, an independent sports data and statistical service, Williams has been targeted 19 times by opposing quarterbacks and has allowed just seven catches for 66 yards. Packers cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt said Williams’ numbers are even better. According to his film review, Williams has allowed just four receptions for 30 yards.

According to the league stats, Williams has not committed a penalty this season, but he should have been charged with an illegal contact foul in the first quarter of Sunday’s loss at Washington when it was mistakenly given to cornerback Brandon Underwood (who wasn’t on the field).

One thing can’t be disputed: Williams hasn’t given up a touchdown.

It all prompted Whitt on Friday to say Williams has been the Packers’ best defensive back this season. And that’s saying something considering Williams plays alongside cornerback Charles Woodson, the reigning NFL defensive player of the year.

“Just look at the numbers,” Whitt said. “You go and look and tell me a corner that’s played better in the NFL than him in these five games. He’s played at a high level, better than I thought he could play, through five games.”

The caveat is “through five games,” but Whitt sees no reason Williams can’t sustain his level of play.

Williams became a full-time starter in Week 12 last season after Al Harris blew out his knee against San Francisco on Nov. 22. Before that, he was the nickel, or third, cornerback. In his two roles combined last season, he gave up a team-high 46 receptions, allowing completions 56.1 percent of the time he was targeted, and was responsible for five touchdowns, according to STATS. He had six penalties, including a team-high four for pass interference.

“The thing he didn’t do last year, he didn’t tackle,” Whitt said. “He’s tackled at a high level this year. He’s covered at a high level this year. He’s done everything we want him to do through five games. I couldn’t be any happier.”

Even though he skipped the offseason program, meaning he practiced with the team for only the two mandatory minicamp days (coach Mike McCarthy canceled the third and final day), it didn’t seem to affect Williams’ preparation. He reported to training camp in tip-top shape and didn’t miss a practice.

“I’m just focused,” Williams said. “I’ve always been focused, but you’ve got to find another level of focus, something that kind of drives you.”

Williams insists it isn’t the money.

“I’m just playing,” Williams said. “That’s something I’m not really focused on. I’m confident this organization takes care of their players, and I have no issue at all,”

Before this season’s tender, Williams, 27, hadn’t had a big payday. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Tech, where he began his career as a walk-on. He signed with Houston after the draft but was cut at the end of the 2006 training camp. The Packers signed to the practice squad on Nov. 29 of that season, and he made the team out of training camp the next season. His base salaries for his first three seasons were $285,000 in 2007, $370,000 in 2008 — the league minimums — and $525,000 last season as an exclusive-rights free agent.

General Manager Ted Thompson gave Williams the highest restricted free agent tender, meaning a team would have to give up a first- and third-round pick to sign him, which essentially took him off the market.

Williams’ agent, Rodney Williams, said Friday the team hasn’t begun any contract talks.

“I guess they’ll pick their time,” the agent said. “He’s playing really well. I’m happy for him. He’s a good kid. It will all take care of itself.”

Williams hasn’t gotten the national notice perhaps because he hasn’t put up big interception numbers. He has one, but it came on Washington’s Hail Mary pass on the final play of regulation on Sunday. Last year, he had four interceptions.

“You go back and look at the numbers of the so-called Pro Bowl corners in the league and put his numbers against theirs and see what you find,” Whitt said. “There’s not anybody out there playing at his level. Nnamdi (Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders) is the only one. If he had the name (Darrelle) Revis or Woodson on his back, everybody would say, ‘Oh, wow.’ But that’s not his name. The thing is, he has to do it for 11 more games.”

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