Williams is playing hardball with the Packers.

Green Bay Packers’ cornerback Tramon Williams and safety Atari Bigby did not sign their restricted free agent tenders by today’s 12 a.m. ET deadline.

The Packers gave both players, as well as defensive end Johnny Jolly, written notice of the deadline. The team told all three players they would reduce their tenders to 110 percent of their 2009 base salary. Jolly, who would have received a substantial pay cut, was the only player to sign.

Unless the team was bluffing, Williams’ tender drops from $3.168 million to $584,078. Bigby’s goes from $1.759 million down to $1,704,538.

While Bigby didn’t lose a lot of money, we still think he’s an idiot.

Bigby’s play slipped down the stretch last season and that’s not to mention he’s made of glass, having missed 12 games the past two years. Obviously, Bigby feels that warrants a long-term deal.

Obviously, if the Packers felt the same, they wouldn’t have drafted Morgan Burnett in the third round of this year’s draft.

Bigby’s continued absence from Green Bay only gives Burnett more opportunity to learn the defense and take Bigby’s starting spot. While he certainly provides valuable depth and insurance, as far as I’m concerned, Bigby can stay away as long as he wants.

Williams, on the other hand, holds a considerable bit of leverage over the Packers.

After finishing the 2009 season as the Packers second cornerback, Williams enters 2010 as, at worst, the team’s nickel back. With Al Harris recovering from a knee injury that may keep him sidelined until after the season begins, Williams may well open where he finished last season.

If Harris isn’t ready or doesn’t return to form and Williams isn’t signed, the Packers are, in a word, fucked. Behind Williams are several guys who haven’t shown they’re capable of starting in the NFL.

Second-year man Brandon Underwood, who is still awaiting the conclusion of a sexual assault investigation, is the best of the bunch. Underwood showed improvement throughout his rookie season, but still has a ways to go.

Pat Lee hasn’t been able to stay healthy during his short stint in Green Bay and Jarrett Bush is probably the worst cornerback in the history of organized football.

So, you’d think the Packers might want to sign Williams. You’d think they might want to sign him for more than one season.

Why that hasn’t happened yet is beyond me.

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