Given that we’re already going into the 2nd week of free agency, I did not expect Tramon Williams to get 7 million dollars annually. That doesn’t necessarily mean this is a bad deal. Williams is going into his age 32 season, but he should still be a solid starter next season. He’s not the player he was in 2009, when he graded out 9th, or 2010, when he graded out 8th, but he’s graded out above average in 6 straight seasons and made 95 of 96 starts over that time period.
I also like the fit in Cleveland. The Browns drafted Justin Gilbert in the first round last year, but he was a massive disappointment on and off the field in his first year in the league, grading out below average on just 373 snaps and getting suspended for the final game of the season for a violation of team rules. Meanwhile, fellow rookie K’Waun Williams played well on 341 snaps, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 13th ranked cornerback. No one played fewer snaps and graded out better as Williams allowed just 4.91 yards per attempt into his coverage last season. However, it’s hard to trust him going forward given that he was undrafted a year ago and, best case scenario, he still only projects as a valuable slot cornerback.
Williams may be aging, but he’s still playing well and gives them good insurance outside opposite Joe Haden for at least a year. 7 million annually is a lot for an aging cornerback, but there probably isn’t much, if any money guaranteed beyond 2015 and the Browns have a fair amount of cap space to work with. Giving it to a proven player like Williams makes a lot more sense than giving it to unproven veterans like Jacksonville did (Jermey Parnell, Dan Skuta, and Davon House) and hoping that they found diamonds in the rough that the league let fall through the cracks. I said before free agency started that something around 3 years, 17 million, with 7 million guaranteed would be appropriate for him and this isn’t too far off.