Browns Get Williams; Packers Thin at Corner

The Packers face a major challenge in replacing veteran cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Davon House. Williams signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Browns.

Happy birthday, Tramon Williams.

Williams celebrated his 32nd birthday by signing a three-year, $21 million contract with the Cleveland Browns on Monday.

The Packers could deal with losing either Williams or Davon House. Losing both players, however, will be a major challenge to overcome. Green Bay’s starting trio projects to Sam Shields, Casey Hayward and Micah Hyde. Demetri Goodson or, if he returns, Jarrett Bush, would be the next man up. That’s a paper-thin cornerback corps.

Williams, who earned a surprisingly lucrative contract considering his age, joins the Browns after playing the last eight seasons with the Packers. During that times, Williams intercepted 32 passes (including playoffs). Since the start of the 2010 season, his 22 interceptions rank second in the league to All-Pro Richard Sherman’s 24.

“Tramon is a really good and consistent player,” Browns general manager Ray Farmer said in the release announcing the signing. “He has had success in this league because he’s a pro’s pro who believes great preparation leads to great performance. We are very happy to be able to sign a player of his caliber to our secondary.”

Williams started every game for the Packers last season and he has missed only one game since 2007.

“I take a lot of pride in that,” Williams said in the release. “You never know why guys do it. I'm not a guy who does it for accolades. I can go about it and don't care if anybody ever knows. Whatever helps the team win, that's the only thing I really care about.”

Last season, Williams finished fourth on the team with 78 tackles, first with 16 passes defensed and tied for first with three interceptions. According to ProFootballFocus.com, he ranked 67th out of the 116 corners who received 25 percent playing time with a 64.3 percent completion rate, 75th with a 101.7 passer rating and 70th with one completion allowed for every 9.1 passing plays. He was guilty of only four penalties, with just one in the final nine regular-season games. During the second half of the season, he might have been the best tackler on the entire defense.

Williams is expected to compete for the starting cornerback position opposite of Joe Haden that was held by Buster Skrine, who signed with the Jets as an unrestricted free agent last week.

“It's going to be awesome,” Williams said. “I'll be glad to join those guys and help those guys with whatever they need.

“I see where these guys are going and I think I can help them go to where they want to go,” he said. “They had a great defense last year with a lot of young guys on the team. I'm a veteran guy and I hope I can take them to another level.”

Williams went to the Pro Bowl after the 2010 season when he had six interceptions and 20 passes broken up.

“Tramon is an experienced, versatile and productive corner that has played at a very high level throughout his entire career,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said. “He is a good fit for any defense because his impressive ball skills have made him an accomplished playmaker. He can play man, press or play off and be successful. Those are attributes that are very important for our defensive backs. Tramon is a high-quality person who comes from a winning tradition and we look forward to seeing the positive impact he will have on our team.”

Williams said he’s excited to help the Browns as they strive for the playoffs.

“I know this is a good spot for me,” Williams said. “It carries the same tradition Green Bay had. I'm just ready for a new chapter in my life.”

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


Packer Report Top Stories