Williams, Jolly among highest tendered

Free agency has begun. The Packers took a step towards securing two of their top players in what could be a more active than usual restricted free agent market with no new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place.

The Packers have upped the ante on two of their restricted free agents, all but assuring they will remain Packers for at least next season.

Packer Report has learned that cornerback Tramon Williams received a first- and third- round third tender and defensive end Johnny Jolly a first-round tender among the team's eight restricted free agents. Williams' one-year tender is reportedly worth just over $3 million and Jolly's just over $2.5 million.

Should any team sign Williams, they would have to give up first- and third-round draft picks, though the Packers would have the right to match the offer. Williams was acquired by Green Bay in 2006 as an undrafted free agent and has made vast improvement as a nickel back and part-time starter. The Packers look at Williams as a potential long-term starter and the high tender affords them the security and time to work on a long-term contract.

Jolly, likewise, received a higher tender than anticipated. He is coming off his best season yet, even though he changed positions from a 4-3 scheme defensive tackle to a 3-4 defensive end. He started all 16 games for the Packers in 2009 recording 75 tackles and 11 passes defended, the most by a Packers defensive lineman since the team began recording the statistic in 1980. He also recorded an interception, a forced fumble, a sack, nine quarterback hits, and two fumble recoveries. When the Packers went to their nickel defense, Jolly often played the left defensive tackle spot in the two-down lineman look.

Despite pending felony drug charges, Jolly appears to be in the Packers' plans receiving the second-highest tender available. He was originally a sixth-round pick in 2006.

Williams received the same tender from the Packers as Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins. Other restricted free agents for the Packers received the following tenders – center/guard Jason Spitz (second round), guard Daryn Colledge (second), safety Atari Bigby (second), cornerback/return specialist Will Blackmon (fourth), and fullback John Kuhn (right of first refusal). The Packers would receive no compensation if they lose Kuhn, though they have the right to match any contract offer.

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