Williams bolts for Atlanta

Veteran cornerback Tyrone Williams, out of the picture in Green Bay, signed a five-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons today. Williams became expendable when the Packers traded with the Philadelphia Eagles for cornerback Al Harris earlier this month.<p>

Williams Saturday agreed to terms of a contract that includes bonuses of about $2.2 million and averages between $2 million to $2.5 million per season. Atlanta has been in desperate need of a veteran cornerback after it released Ashley Ambrose last month in a salary cap move.

Williams was seeking a contract that averaged more than $3 million a season, but took what Atlanta had to offer after making visits with Minnesota and Cincinnati.

"I've been a little puzzled if you look at the stats, but (free agents Denard) Walker and Tory James and Dre' Bly were courted more aggressively," said Williams' agent, Richard Davis. "But I think we got a very fair contract."

Williams, who'll turn 30 on May 31, was a third-round draft choice of the Packers in 1996. He became a starter in the second game of 1997. Williams started 94 of 95 games in the last six seasons for the Packers and only missed one game in 111 overall due to injury – last Dec. 8 when he was sidelined with a strained hamstring. He finished his stint in Green Bay with 445 tackles, 19 interceptions, returning two for touchdowns, and 92 passes defensed.

Williams is three years younger than Ambrose who signed a four-year, $8 million contract March 3 with New Orleans. Three of Atlanta's cornerbacks from 2002 – Juran Bolden, Kevin Mathis and Fred Weary – are unrestricted free agents. Starting cornerback Ray Buchanan and reserve Allen Rossum are under contract.

Tod McBride, Green Bay's top backup the past three seasons, has visited with Falcons officials. He has good size (6-1, 208) and is physical, but struggles in coverage. McBride also has met with Dallas and Minnesota. He is expected to meet with the Arizona Cardinals today.

Williams only gave up two touchdown passes and five plays of 20 yards or more, according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He has surrendered 20 touchdown passes and 54 plays of 20-plus yards in seven seasons. Williams only missed two tackles last year.

"Ty was by far the best free agent out there if you go by stats," Davis told the Journal Sentinel. "But I don't think ... I know ... that a couple of things that happened in Green Bay through no fault of his own caused a little bit of a concern for some people."

The knock in the paper is he doesn't give anybody a concussion," Davis said. "On the flip side, he doesn't miss a game. He missed just a couple tackles the whole damn year. He doesn't hurt anybody but he doesn't miss anything."

Packer Report Top Stories