Green Bay Packers fans, you can rest easy.
Tramon Williams isn’t going anywhere.
Williams inked a four-year extension Tuesday that will keep him in green and gold through the 2014 season. The total value of the deal is believed to be worth $33.074 million.
Thanks to some nifty reporting from both Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press Gazette and the great Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, we can already begin to break down the particulars of Williams’ deal. The first key piece of the pie is the $6 million signing bonus, which he will presumably be given immediately. That leaves roughly $27 million coming his way. Here’s how he’ll get it:
- 2010: Earns an additional $5 million, the prorated portion of the $14.4 million 2010 salary he now carries under the new deal.
- 2011: $4.5 million total ($1 million salary, $2.5 million roster bonus, $1 million workout bonus)
- 2012: $6.1 million total ($2.3 million salary, $2.8 million roster bonus, $1 million workout bonus)
- 2013: $7.2 million total ($5.9 million salary, $300,000 roster bonus, $1 million workout bonus)
- 2014 $8.2 million total ($6.9 million salary, $300,000 roster bonus, $1 million workout bonus)
If you do the math, it’s actually a $37 million contract, instead of $33 million. That likely stems from the workout bonuses, since Williams can earn that extra $4 million at his own discretion. Either way, it’s a good deal, both for him and the team.
It’s nice to see a player like Williams rewarded. He stands as a perfect example of how to make a name for yourself – and be properly paid – the right way. As early as preseason 2008, people like broadcaster Larry McCarren were saying that Williams could start for roughly half the teams in the league. Armed with such praise – and the fact that he’s only continued to grow since the start of ‘08 – it would have been easy for Williams to demand more playing time.
He never did, though, instead focusing on getting better. And this summer, when Williams was reportedly upset about receiving an RFA tender instead of a new deal, it would have been easy for him to sit out in the hopes of forcing the team’s hand. Oh, I suppose he could have then come back, only to fake an injury/pair of injuries so he could get paid for almost no work, too (Mike McKenzie, cough, Atari Bigby, cough, cough). Again, he did not do this.
He simply set his mind to proving his true value on the field. He’s done that – and then some, becoming an All-Pro level talent this season, unquestionably the team’s No. 1 corner. And with this new deal done, he’s likely to stay in that role for quite some time to come. Great story all around and a lesson to other players: If you are good, you will be paid. Period.
Of course, there is now the question of what fallout, if any, comes from the extension. After all, there’s only so much money to go around and when one player gets paid, that likely means another player will not. And that’s a good thing, most of the time. As former Dallas Cowboys safety Darren Woodson said in the book, “Boys Will Be Boys”, you have to reward some players, but not all players. It sets a bad precedent. We need look no further than our old pal Mike Sherman for a lesson in how bad said precedent can be.
The list of Packers with deals set to expire after this season is rather low, which is a good thing. James Jones, Brandon Jackson, Mason Crosby and Desmond Bishop will all see their rookie contracts end. There were rumors awhile back that the team has approached Bishop about a new deal. If that happens – and I think it will – that means either Nick Barnett or A.J. Hawk will no longer be around come 2011 (my early vote goes to Barnett being gone, but we can talk about that down the road).
With the new CBA in flux, to say the least, it’s unknown how the restricted/unrestricted rules will shake out (currently a factor for players still in their rookie deals). Jackson and Crosby won’t cost much, so they should be back. Jones may end up asking for a fat new deal, but either way, I’d expect him back, as well.
The one player who likely loses out the most now? Cullen Jenkins. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s highly unlikely Jenkins is back with the team next season. The fact that Jenkins – in the final year of a four-year, $16 million contract signed in 2007 – hasn’t gotten more attention from the team has puzzled both fans and Jenkins himself. The reasons are simple, though: Jenkins has been injury prone and/or faded down the stretch in each of the past four seasons. Why hand over big money to a player like that?
Also, the Packers already have two big-money d-linemen in Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji. Then factor in Mike Neal’s return next year from injury. And don’t forget about Johnny Jolly’s return. Yes, he’s a yutz, but after serving a one-year suspension, he’ll come at a very low rate and will be ridiculously motivated to get a new contract. Throw in C.J. Wilson, a project who has shown some real flashes at times, and you already have five linemen.
To pay a 3-4 end like Jenkins big money to be the sixth makes little sense, especially when he can move back to a 4-3 defense and make even more money along the way. I’ve long suspected Jenkins would not be back in 2011 – Tuesday’s events simply confirmed it.