Should the Packers Cut Tramon Williams This Offseason?
From a mostly anecdotal perspective, it appears Tramon Williams has been pretty good at safety this season for the Packers. If you look at Williams’ individual stats, it’s hard to tell any significant difference from when he was playing cornerback to his transition to playing safety. The advanced stats are hard to find on what sort of impact he’s having.
Anecdotally, it feels like the Packers are better and a little more stable with him back at safety. That’s not to say there haven’t been bad plays. In his first game at safety against the Patriots, he took a bad angle on a long touchdown by wide receiver Josh Gordon. He also was slow getting over on a crucial catch by Tyler Lockett late in the Seahawks game, too.
Overall, the back-breaking missed plays have decreased with him in the back half of the secondary. It’s hard to rule definitely whether they’ve been better or worse, but at the very least Tramon Williams has been a stable presence in the back half of the defense.
Should the Packers keep Tramon Williams at safety?
Williams is under contract for 2019, and it’s likely the Packers will use him as a bridge player between the current group of safeties and the group of safeties they would like to have.
If the Packers draft a safety in the 2019 NFL Draft or sign one in free agency, they’re still going to need help on the back end. Say they sign Landon Collins, a player who suffered a season-ending injury this season and likely won’t be 100 percent at the start of next season. The Packers would still need competent bodies in the secondary, and that could be Williams’ role.
Imagine a scenario in 2019 where Williams would start at the beginning of the season and see his playing time diminish as the team transitions to other players.
This could have been the role Morgan Burnett played for the Packers this year had he remained in Green Bay, as the team transitions towards younger, more athletic safeties.
Will the Packers cut Tramon Williams after this season?
Despite his potential use to the 2019 Packers, it’s also a fair question as to whether or not he’ll even be on the team
It’s a tricky question, of course, and it’s become murkier as the 2018 season has gone off the rails. In 2019, his cap hit is almost going to double from what it was this year. He counted $3.6 million against the 2018 cap, and that number increases to $6.3 million in 2019.
Further, it would cost very little for the Packers to cut him. If he is released, Williams would count just $1.6 million in dead money on the 2019 salary cap. Green Bay would recoup $4.75 million in cap space from the transaction – a not inconsiderable amount.
The move would give the Packers a little bit more in cap room as they try to bring in free agents or lock up some of their own players. Every little bit counts, and it should be a consideration if the Packers don’t view Tramon Williams as a long-term solution for 2019.
It’s hard to know whether he will or won’t return in 2019, and given the stability he’s added, it’s more probable he will return. It’s not impossible he is released, but it’s not a certainty, either.