GREEN BAY — There may be a youth movement coming for the Green Bay Packers at cornerback — and perhaps it’ll come before the 2018 season is out. But at least for now, the team is augmenting the position with a couple of veterans.
Three weeks after adding Tramon Williams, the Packers came to terms on a one-year deal with Davon House on Thursday, an NFL source confirmed. House returned to the Packers last season after a two-year stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars and started all 12 games he played, intercepting one pass and recording 49 tackles (42 solo), three tackles for a loss, one sack and nine pass break-ups.
House told ESPN.com that he was at his offseason home in Hawaii when the deal was struck and he’ll travel to Green Bay to take a physical and make the deal official in the coming days.
Like Williams, who played for the Packers from 2007 through 2014 before spending three seasons elsewhere (two in Cleveland, one in Arizona), House left as a free agent following the 2014 season. He played the 2015 and 2016 seasons in Jacksonville before the Packers brought him back on a one-year, $2.8 million deal last offseason. His new deal is likely similar.
Williams, meanwhile, signed a two-year, $10 million deal on March 23. Together, they give the Packers two proven cover men at what had been a paper-thin position.
The Packers traded 2015 first-round pick Damarious Randall to the Cleveland Browns last month even though he was arguably the team’s best cover man down the stretch last season. Before adding Williams and House, the Packers’ top two cornerbacks when the offseason program kicks off on Monday would likely have been Kevin King and Quinten Rollins, both of whom underwent season-ending surgeries last season.
“No, we don’t have enough corners right now. I think that’s obvious,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said at the annual NFL Meetings last month in Florida. “But you have a lot of time left until you get that 90-man roster where we want it to be.
“When we come out of the draft and our roster gets up there at 88-89, I think all the positions will have plenty of competition. I mean, that’s my goal.”
King, a second-round pick last season, played well despite a debilitating preexisting shoulder injury that had him in and out of the lineup in several games. If healthy, he would presumably be a starter at one of the outside spots. And the team is likely to use at least one of its high picks in the April 26-28 NFL draft on the position as well.
Because of the uneven play Green Bay got from Randall and Rollins, King started five of the nine games he played in as a rookie. Ideally, the Packers would like to have the option to bring a high draft pick along slowly and play him extensively only if he earns that opportunity.
The Packers also have four less heralded young cornerbacks in Herb Waters, Lenzy Pipkins, Josh Hawkins and Donatello Brown who’ve all shown promise, so there could come a time this season when younger players move into the lineup.
What House, 28, and Williams, 35, do give them, though — beyond two veterans who have already proven they can be effective starters at the NFL level — are two old hands who can also mentor and lead in the cornerback room.
“I’m excited that he’s back and he’ll definitely give us outstanding leadership there in the secondary,” McCarthy said of Williams at the NFL Meetings.
That said, McCarthy said he does want to see the younger players come along and give new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine more options there.
“It’s (about) what’s in front of them. They have to develop,” McCarthy said.
“They all have something that obviously you love about them. It’s just working on the other things and continuing to develop. I think (defensive passing game coordinator) Joe Whitt and (secondary coach) Jason Simmons, those guys are as good as there is. So they’ll definitely have the opportunity.”