Packers Expected to Bring Back Veteran Cornerback: Report

Tramon Williams Packers

Getty Cornerback Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 23, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Tramon Williams is on the verge of making one last run with the Green Bay Packers.

According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Williams flew into Green Bay on a private jet on Wednesday morning and is expected to sign with the team “if everything goes right” with the necessary testing procedures, setting the stage for the veteran cornerback to return for a third stint with the Packers.

The Baltimore Ravens had waived Williams from their active roster on Monday after bowing out in the divisional round of the playoffs, a move that would normally have made him ineligible for still-contending teams as waiver wire moves in the postseason do not process until the Monday after the Super Bowl. Because Williams was not under contract beyond 2020, though, he immediately became a signable free agent — per salary-cap specialist Ken Ingalls.

The Packers would not need to make a corresponding move to add Williams to their 53-man roster as Jared Veldheer’s spot is still vacant after he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. If the Packers did sign him, Williams would have the opportunity to become the first in NFL history to play for two different teams during the same postseason.

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Would Packers Get More From Williams Than Ravens Did?

Williams played meaningful snaps (60% or more) in multiple games for the Ravens while they were grappling with injuries in their secondary, tallying 15 total tackles at the cornerback spot in six regular-season appearances but allowing receptions on 12 of the 16 times he was targetted in coverage. He finished the season with a below-average grade (53.5) from Pro Football Focus.

The Packers, however, likely have a better understanding of how to get the most out of Williams after seeing him in their system in each of the past two seasons. He was the Packers’ go-to slot cornerback for the 2019 season, playing in every game and recording two interceptions, 39 tackles, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. The 37-year-old defender also played safety in 2018 and brings unique versatility to the system.

The Packers have struggled to get consistency out of their dime linebacker position since losing Raven Greene to a season-ending injury, so it is possible the re-introduction of Williams would give them a few more defensive configurations to consider. For instance, if Williams can man the slot, the Packers would have the freedom to move around Chandon Sullivan, a younger and more physical option who has also taken snaps at inside linebacker, safety and outside corner.

Retirement Plan Also in Cards for Williams?

Even when Green Bay elected not to bring back Williams as a free agent in the 2020 offseason, there was a hope among the fan base that he could one day return to retire as a Packer. Now, depending on Williams’ career outlook, it could become a reality in a matter of weeks.

Williams started in 122 of his 159 career games during his 10 seasons with the Packers and logged a total of 559 tackles, 30 interceptions, 125 pass breakups and 12 tackles for a loss throughout his two stints with the team, standing as the only Packers player in franchise history to record at least 100 pass breakups. He also earned the lone Pro Bowl selection of his career in 2010 during the Packers’ Super Bowl run, providing significant moments along the way.

Turning 38 in March, Williams will have a decision to make about his NFL playing future after he spent most of the 2020 season watching from the sidelines. Riding with the Packers to another championship would certainly make for a memorable career finale, but it will also depend on his physical health and whether he still feels capable of competing for another 16-game season.

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