Over the weekend, the Green Bay Packers managed to keep their receiving corps together by retaining Randall Cobb to the tune of $40 million over four years.
But Green Bay must now try to keep its highly ranked secondary together as the NFL’s free agency period reaches a critical mass over the next few days.
Yahoo Sports reported that Cobb turned down as much as $1.5 million more per season to stay with the Packers, but Green Bay can’t bank on such loyalty from both cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Davon House.
Williams, 31, is likely signing the last big contract of his career while House is seeking a big bump from the $720,000 he made last season, when he ranked third on the team with 10 passes defended. Williams was first in interceptions (3) and passes defended (13) and ranked fourth on the Packers with 71 total tackles.
According to NJ.com, the Philadelphia Eagles are making a major push for Williams even after they swiped Byron Maxwell from the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks over the weekend.
Though he wants to stay, Williams reportedly turned down Green Bay’s offer of $8 million over two years, and he’s actually seeking a three-year deal at $5 million per season, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.
The same report indicated that Seattle will heavily pursue Williams since it believed re-signing Maxwell wasn’t possible.
After releasing veteran linebacker A.J. Hawk, the Packers have more than $33 million in salary cap space, the ninth highest total among all NFL teams, but given Williams' age it makes sense why they are seeking a shorter term deal likely with fewer guarantees.
Green Bay also needs to preserve cap space to re-sign veteran defensive end B.J. Raji, as well as 25-year-old right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who’s considered one of the top offensive lineman on the open market this offseason. Green Bay’s line surrendered only 30 sacks last season, and keeping quarterback Aaron Rodgers upright is obviously in the team’s best interests.
Raji is coming off a major injury, a torn biceps tendon that forced him to miss all of last season, but when healthy he could help a Packers pass rush that ranked No. 9 in the NFL last season with 41 sacks. NESN.com indicated the New England Patriots could pursue Raji as they try to find a replacement for veteran defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.
House can’t demand as lucrative a deal as Williams, but could be signed to a longer back loaded contract that wouldn’t affect Green Bay’s cap in the short-run.
However, Fox Sports Wisconsin reported Sunday that the Packers haven’t even reached out to House or his representatives about a new contract.