Johnny Jolly may not be a mathematical wizard, but he could easily tell the difference between 2.52 million dollars and $640,000. The defensive end signed his one year restricted free agent tender offer from the Packers on Tuesday, guaranteeing him the larger amount for the 2010 season. A Monday deadline to sign has passed and that allowed the Packers to re-tender Jolly at a salary equal to 110% of the money he earned in 2009, about a 1.9 million dollar difference. Jolly still has his trial on codeine posession charges in Houston pending, it's now scheduled to start July 30, the day players are to report for training camp. None of the 2.5 million is guaranteed so the Packers could still release him if he's convicted and sentenced to prison. Even if acquitted, he is likely to face discipline from NFL comissioner Roger Goddell.
Jolly's signing leaves two Packers without deals, defensive back Tramon Williams and safety Atari Bigby. The difference between Bigby's tender offer and the potential re-tender is only about $54,000 dollars but the Packers appear excited about third round draft choice Morgan Burnett's chances to get on the field early this fall, maybe even contend for Bigby's starting job.
As for Williams, he seems ready to play an expensive game of chicken with management. The Packers placed a first and third round tender on Williiams, worth 3.168 million dollars. In a letter sent to Williams and his agent (similar letters went out to Jolly and Bigby), the Packers threatened to enact the 110% rule and that could cost Williams 2.6 million this season. Williams is seeking a long term contract extension based on his extensive playinig time as the nickel back and reserve starter when injury ended Al Harris' season last fall. With Harris and Charles Woodson closer to the end of their career, Williams is line to become a full time starter with the Pack. If he doesn't sign the higher tender, and the Packers lower the boom with a lower deal, Williams could take his frustration out by holding out. He could miss up to 10 games this fall and sign a deal with 6 weeks to play, giving him the critical 4th year of vested service, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent in 2011. Tramon might be best served to take the more lucrative tender in a show of good faith and if he continues to play well this season, the Packers have shown a history of drawing up long term extensions. We'll see who blinks first.