Ryan from Milwaukee, WI
Hello Insiders! I couldn't agree more with Keith from Bakersfield about having high character people on our team. Winning is the goal but winning the right way matters. Who comes to mind when you think of that combination of talent and character?
Tramon Vernell Williams Sr.
George from North Mankato, MN
Just wanted to send a thank you to Tramon Williams for a fantastic career. Happy retirement, may you spend it doing what you love with whom you love. A true class act both on and off the field!
I knew this day would eventually come, but can't believe it's finally here. I don't know if there's any words that do Tramon Williams justice. As a player and a person, they don't get much better than No. 38. His story is one of perseverance, triumph, and drive. But what I appreciated about Tramon the most is success didn't change him. He still had time for reporters and carried himself like a professional regardless of the circumstances. There are NFL players who view this as a business and act accordingly, and there are NFL players who are kind, thoughtful and caring human beings. Tramon Williams was in a class of his own. You'd be hard-pressed to find a Green Bay media member with a bad thing to say about him. I wish him and his family well in the next chapter of their lives.
Paul from Franklin, WI
Welcome back Wes – Hearing of Tramon retiring was really hard to read but understandable. He may not have been the flashiest player or have the greatest stats, but he had such great leadership in the secondary. He always seemed to come up with the big play when we needed it the most (see Tony Romo, for one). I think I can speak for many Packers fans when I say we will miss him. Do you think he's done enough in his career for the Packer HOF?
I think Tramon was pretty darn flashy if I do say so myself. Williams was overlooked because he was a late-bloomer who opted to play football only after enrolling at Louisiana Tech as an electrical-engineering student. Once he got his opportunity in Green Bay, Williams took the ball and ran with it. He's an obvious choice for the Packers Hall of Fame.
Eddie from La Crosse, WI
Happy Wesday! When I think of Tramon Williams, I automatically think of one play – in Atlanta, January 2011. "Pass is picked off! Tramon Williams....and he may GO!" That one play is forever imprinted in my mind, as it showed me beyond any doubt that the Packers were going to win it all that year. So long, Tramon. You are THE MAN.
That was his moment. Tramon Williams played more than 200 regular-season games and had 38 career interceptions (including playoffs) but that game was his finest hour. The Packers don't make that Super Bowl XLV run without him.
Roger from McGrath, AK
Thanks for the article on the start of NFL free agency, Wes. I'm curious though why Tramon Williams wasn't listed like Jared Veldheer. I thought they were both acquired late last year using the same tool from the toolbox.
Because Veldheer was under contract with the Packers on the 53-man roster. When Green Bay brought back Tramon in January, it actually was as a member of the practice squad (which probably was a fitting end to Williams' NFL career as that's how it began). Practice-squad contracts expire once the season ends. Also, be sure to bookmark the URL of that story. We'll be continually updating that as transactions are announced.
Check out photos of recently retired Green Bay Packers CB Tramon Williams.
Sawyer from Simpsonville, SC
Thanks for stealing my Bobby Bonilla reference Hod Rod! Now for my question, er, statement. Today (Wed) marks the start of the saddest period for a fan, and April 29 marks the start of the happiest. Any thoughts on how hope dies and then springs to life as the league year goes on?
My prescription for you is to watch an Aaron Jones highlight reel and you should feel a lot better. The Packers will have a new team in 2021 but the playmakers remain in place for another championship run.
Michelle from Ringgold, GA
What do you think is the biggest challenge the Packers face this upcoming year?
Maintaining the chemistry that the last two teams had. It was magical. Retaining Marcedes Lewis would certainly help if he desires to play a 16th season.
Chuck from Gold Canyon, AZ
Good morning Wes, Day 3 of 12. You can thank Spoff when he returns but I hope you have your big boy pants on during this silly season to respond to the "sign everyone" fans. My question is I thought the NFL had a minimum amount of cap space required for each team. The Jets, Jags, Colts and NE this year having around $50 million-plus available space. I can't imagine who the expiring contracts on those teams would lead to that much space so am I wrong about the minimum cap?
They do, but it's not based on a single season. Teams must use 89% (or thereabouts) of their allotted cap room over (I think) a three-year span or risk losing it.
Henry from Brown Deer, WI
Wes, welcome back. I can't remember if you were high on or just intrigued by Yosh Nijman when he was signed to the practice squad. His trajectory is going to be interesting. Fourteen snaps last year to backup tackle this year. From what I can see of the pictures of him, he appears to be a giant of a man. Do you think he has the capacity for more action this year or next?
I'm still high on Nijman. I just wish we could've seen him in a game to get a feel for how much he grew in Year 2. He is a massive dude, so pad level always will be the main thing with him. But I can only imagine how much he's learned over the past two years from not only Adam Stenavich but also sharing a position room with David Bakhtiari. This is a big year for the big man.
David from Appleton, WI
You have both covered the combine for years but will miss it this year due to COVID. What is the strangest/funniest thing you witnessed at the combine in your years of covering it?
I've never encountered anything too crazy in Indy, though I find it funny when young agents confuse me for a scout and try to give pamphlets and brochures of their clients. That happens at least once or twice each year I'm down there.
Mark from Monrovia, CA
Good morning, Wes. Good to have you back nice and rested. I was looking at some sleepers at OL, possible centers, and Rashawn Slater from Northwestern really looked like a good fit. He was a right tackle but they are saying he is too small for the NFL and could move inside, with Corey Linsley going to the Chargers maybe he could help us out? What do you think?
Converted tackles have been the prototype for the Packers over the years, whether it's been Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, JC Tretter, Billy Turner or now with Jon Runyan. It makes sense. Unless the player is coming from a perennial powerhouse, most college teams put their best O-linemen at tackle. Green Bay has some viable candidates to start with Runyan, Lucas Patrick, Nijman and perhaps Lane Taylor but would do well to add another OL or two this offseason to the competition…and obviously they've hit on a few overlooked guys from Northwestern in recent years.
Rich from Vail, CO
Aaron Rodgers has gotten a lot of credit over the years for his hard count and ability to create free plays, and rightfully so, but I don't think enough credit goes to the center's ability to recognize when a player jumps offside and snap the ball quickly enough to prevent the ref from calling the play dead. With Corey Linsley heading to the Chargers, do you think whoever fills his place will be able to replicate the success that Linsley and Rodgers have had over the years?
It'll take some time. We talk so often about receivers getting on the same page with Rodgers and the telepathic connection he developed with Davante Adams, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones. But the battery Rodgers formed with Linsley was special. They played together for seven seasons. You can't replicate that familiarity overnight.
Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers S Darnell Savage from the 2020 season.
Bruce from Appleton, WI
Why did the packers not try to keep Corey Linsley or do they have someone else in mind for center?
I mean, the Chargers reportedly made Linsley the game's highest-paid center. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap, you know? Linsley leaves a big hole in the Packers' offensive line but this has happened before when Scott Wells and Mike Flanagan left in free agency. It's the next man up.
Dean from Leavenworth, IN
You mentioned that getting a third-round compensatory pick for Aaron Jones was unlikely. What about Linsley? Also, does the projected value of a compensatory pick really enter into the team's decision of whether to re-sign a player?
That's still going to be tough, considering Nelson Agholor and Corey Davis reportedly agreed to deals averaging $13 million per season. But let's see how the APYs fall in the coming days and weeks before rushing to conclusions.
Dale from Lima, NY
The Packers currently have nine offensive players on reserve/future contracts…also nine on defense...and two on special teams. Of these, you mentioned that Dexter Williams has the inside track for becoming RB3. Of the remaining 19, which do you see as having the best shot at making the 53? Would it be primarily the ones who saw playing time last season?
I should point out the Packers also have former Buckeye Mike Weber and Patrick Taylor under contract, so those two will factor into that No. 3 battle with Williams, as well. To your question, I'd probably go with KeiVarae Russell or Anthony Rush. Russell is a former third-round pick who was active over Josh Jackson and Ka'dar Hollman in the playoffs. Rush was claimed late in the season but has the size and power to compete for a spot as a run-stuffer. Keep in mind, the Packers have only three active defensive linemen under contract for next year in Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry and Kingsley Keke. Bronson Kaufusi (6-5, 270) is also a name to remember. He's a former defensive lineman who has transitioned to tight end.
Mark from Westminster, CO
I agree Wes, the Packers will shop free agency for a back. I think the Packers will pursue 1,000-yard rusher, ex-Bronco Phillip Lindsay now that the Broncos don't want him. And he'll wear No. 30 if he is signed. It seems like destiny. Thoughts?
That typically isn't the direction the Packers go with running backs but you never know. I think it's more likely they dip back into the draft or find a college free agent with some explosive intangibles they like to add into the mix.
Craig from Appleton, WI
Signing bonuses are prorated out over up to five years against the cap when a player signs. Why does the NFL then make the remaining portion of a signing bonus hit the cap immediately when a player is cut? I understand it is most likely part of the CBA, but why would one side or the other want it set up this way?
Because that money has already been paid out and accelerating the ashes of that "dead money" is a way to keep things moving. In a league with a hard salary cap, it benefits players for teams to have more liquidity and not be paying for a bad signing over three or four years.
Jacob from Prairie du Chien, WI
On a scale of 1-10, how bad do you think the Packers need a return man? Looking at guys such as Cordarrelle Patterson and Deonte Harris, they can bring a huge spark...fast. Correct me if I'm wrong but Tyler Ervin's team-leading 20 yards on punt returns is the lowest in a season in franchise history?
If 10 is shelling out the cash to acquire a Patterson, Harris or Jamal Agnew, then maybe a six or seven? The Packers need someone to step up on the return units but it's more realistic that individual comes through the draft. I'd be looking for a Randall Cobb-type, someone who can return but also has upside on their respective side of the ball.
Dave from Wascott, WI
This is officially my last time asking this question. How does David Bakhtiari being on injured reserve affect the salary cap?
This is officially my last time answering this question: It doesn't.
Perry from Campbellsport, WI
Just curious if you know how David Bakhtiari is coming along with his rehab.
As my mother-in-law would say, "Peachy keen."
Bill from Forest Park, OH
Weston, I just wanted to point out to those asking about the announcement of "this year's throwback jersey" that it's entirely possible the Packers could unveil a completely NEW jersey. After all, it is generically referred to as an ALTERNATE uniform by the NFL.
You're right. It is possible, but the Packers are sticking with throwbacks. That much we do know.
Trystan from Mililani, HI
Good morning! What's with the Packers seemingly never wanting to circle back to the gold jersey uniforms from the Favre days? I was a huge backer behind our Color Rush being all-gold instead of all-white. I understand the all-green because of the field color, but why no gold? I mean Aaron and the offense LOVE GOLD.
On second thought, this would be enticing for an alternative uniform. It won't happen, but at least it makes sense from a narrative standpoint.
Billiam from Mills, TN
No question. But Wes using the term HODL just made my day. He's into crypto and NFTs. Just when I thought you couldn't get any cooler...
I'm no Duke Bobber or Ryan Hartwig, but I dabble a little. Now, who do I need to speak with to setup a Spoff NFT?
Tyler from Green Bay, WI
I'm not going to lie to you. Halfway through your column I stopped reading.
"I sorta got confused…" Thanks for the trip down memory lane. The backstory to that infamous Jamaal Williams soundbite was that it was a completely dead locker room on a Monday afternoon. Jamaal walked in and agreed to talk, but you can tell he was tired (I think he'd talked after the game, too). After a couple minutes, Mark Daniels tried to sneak a question in and Jamaal was zoned out. He was all done and I couldn't blame him. All of us were ready to go home.
Michael from Weston, Ontario
Spoff's five sacks got me thinking, who would be the Terry Tate of the II team?
Terry Tate, office linebacker, meet Mike Spofford, office snacker.
Jacob from Superior, WI
You were in Superior and I didn't know it?! This is the worst news I've heard in March so far.
I'm sorry I missed you, but maybe next time? It's beautiful up there, from Ashland all the way to Duluth. With that being said, the start of the new league year is here. Let's see what it brings us.