Williams, a 2008 franchise player for Green Bay, had 7 sacks each of those two years and flourished in the open one gap scheme of the Packers. He was traded to Cleveland for a second round pick, and given a 6 year, $38.5 million deal with $16.3 million guaranteed. Their return on investment? 1 sack, and learning Williams is a bad fit as a two gap 3-4 tackle.
So what does that mean?
- Williams won't be cheap if he comes, but the 2nd round and $6 mil a year pricetag also won't be reflective of what he'd get here.
- As a bad year brings stock down, and Cleveland has changed GMs, the new staff may be less inclined to make up for the past regime's mistake. A 2 isn't a likely asking price, but a 3 or less should be in play.
- $8 million was paid out to Williams last year; $6 million this year in combined bonuses. Those don't carry over to the Panthers if Williams is traded, so that leaves a $24 million, five year deal.
- $1.7 million would need to be cleared for Williams' salary in 2009; however, since the team hasn't renegotiated with Williams, they could guarantee all but $500k of that salary and spread it over the remaining five years. That would give him a $740k cap hit.
- Williams has a 2010 salary of $4.2 million with a $1.7 million roster bonus; they could easily guarantee that roster bonus to spread it over the next four years, without going heavily in debt for the future.
Williams is a solid penetrator and a good DT for beating single blocks, but is outclassed in the 3-4. Carolina would have a hard time affording the loss of a 3rd round pick when already without its first; the team has done well to build through the draft and this would hastily neglect that option. However, it's a choice the team must make, potentially impacting the franchise for years to come.
Can the team afford three expensive DTs next year in the face of having to pay Julius Peppers high dollar money? Can they afford to not get younger and faster at DT this year and in the future?