We’ve been over all of these things multiple times before. The Green Bay Packers, under Ted Thompson, are always one of the youngest teams in the league. Cornerback Tramon Williams, despite having a killer finish to the season, is potentially on the chopping block.
That’s because Williams is 30 and set to make $7.5 million next season. And Thompson just doesn’t value veteran leadership. Charles Woodson can attest to that.
While he was cleaning out his locker on Monday, Williams spoke to that fact… while probably trying to save his job at the same time.
Drop your name on the way out of the building and it will stay in their minds.
“Even though we always say it’s a young league, yeah, it’s a young league, but it’s an old league, too, because the old guys make the league go,” Williams said. “That’s the guys who’ve been there before, who know how to prepare, who mold the young guys. That’s what they’re there for.”
“And I’m not that old,” Williams said. “It’s just one of those deals to where you don’t want to . . . we keep being young around here, but you don’t want to disvalue the veteran players, because they actually mold the younger players. I was with (Charles) Woodson and those guys, and those guys molded me. I know what it takes.”
Williams is both right and also sounds kind of desperate at the same time.
The Packers have lacked veteran leadership — and players — and that has been obvious at times this season. Under former general manager Ron Wolf, the Packers always had guys who had been around the game and could still make plays. And more importantly, guys who could provide leadership for the younger players on the roster.
You never heard the phrase “next man up” when Wolf ran the show because he didn’t rely on young and often, undrafted, guys to step in when a veteran went down. He relied largely on other proven veterans.
Think Keith Jackson, Andre Rison, Mike Prior, Jim McMahon, etc.
Thompson relies on the undrafted 23-year-old from Joe Bob State.
Williams, meanwhile, probably feels like the writing is on the wall. He’s due $7.5 million next season, which is the final year of his contract.
Is he worth that? If he plays like he did down the stretch of the season, when he was arguably the Packers’ best defender, then yes. Every bit of it.
It’s not that simple though.
The Packers need to re-sign Sam Shields, who’s 26 and the best cornerback on the team. They also have Casey Hayward and Micah Hyde, both of whom are more than capable.
Shields is going to get close to what Tramon is scheduled to make next season, per season. And because the Packers have already invested so much in Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews, who can never stay healthy for a full season, it’s hard to see how they can pay four guys $7 million+ per season.
They can do that only if they stock the majority of their roster with a bunch of bargain-basement (and probably undrafted) guys. And we already know that plan works for shit.
That means the Packers will probably end up either, A. unceremoniously releasing Tramon like they did with Chuck, or B. asking him to take a pay cut.
If that pay cut comes with an extension, which is the smart offer, then Williams may well take it. Of course, at 30, and the way he played this year, the guy isn’t exactly washed up.
He might get more money on the open market and decide to force the Packers’ hand. If that happens, the Packers may well end up without one of their — let’s face it — only two good defenders from the 2013 campaign.
Maybe both of them if someone throws more money at Shields.
We’ve been critical of Tramon before, but the Packers need both him and Shields if they’re going to field a respectable secondary in 2014.
Those two guys were the only thing that stopped us from constantly pointing out what a pile of dogshit the Packers’ safeties were all season.