Monday, March 9, 2009

Tramon Williams is Okay, Ted Thompson Is Okay.

There is a growing brouhaha about Tramon Williams's contract situation.  Some fans are already picking (predictable) sides.  I suspect that the whole controversy is premature.  In any event, both Williams and Thompson are doing exactly what each should be doing.  There is no bad guy here.

I don't begrudge Williams one bit.  

He doesn't have a contract.  

He wants one.  

He has every right to seek the biggest contract that he can get.  He is not Buddha or Jesus or Gandhi.  He is a football player.  It's okay for him to care about materials things (you know, just like the rest of us).  

I want him to be selfless on the field.  He is rube if he is selfless when he is trying to negotiate a contract.

Right now, he doesn't have much leverage.  He either plays for the Packers or not at all.  Thus, the only leverage he has is to threaten not to play.  And, if Thompson honestly expects him to play for his exclusive rights tender (more on that later) he has no choice but to threaten to sit out.

As long as Williams doesn't threaten to be a distraction to leverage a better deal or a ticket of town a la McKenzie, Walker, and Favre, I have no problem with Williams.  (And, as I argue later, the evidence is that Williams is a pretty good guy that is trying to do the right thing.)

Similarly, Thompson's job is to get the best deal that he can for the Packers.  There is, of course, a caveat: the "best deal" for the Packers in 2009 might not be the best deal in the long run.  If Thompson tries to bully Williams into playing for the tender amount in 2009, that would create animosity and Williams would almost certainly be gone in 2010.  Personally, I think that would be a mistake.

But here's the rub: there is no evidence that the Packers aren't going to work out a deal with Williams or that the Packers are trying to low-ball Williams or anything.  The two sides haven't even gotten that far.  

And that's okay.  

As even Williams's agent notes, the Packers have a lot on their plate in terms of getting contracts hammered out (not to mention free agency and the draft to worry about).  It's completely understandable why the Packers haven't started working on Tramon Williams's contract yet.  

For his part, Williams is refusing to fully participate in the OTA's.  

And that's okay, too.  

Williams is even planning on showing up (but sitting out).  To me, that is a great show of good faith on Williams's part.   In fact, I wouldn't begrudge him if he decided not to show up, but that he is showing up demonstrates that he cares about the team and is willing to do everything he can for the team within the parameters of his current contract situation.   Good for him.  Good for the Packers.

Everything is okay.

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