By making him a transition player, the Vikings have essentially offered him a one year $4.774 million contract, the average of the top 10 highest-paid cornerbacks last season. The team has the right to match any offer sheet Williams may get from another team, or allow him to leave.
Had the Vikings made him their franchise player, they would have had to pay him $5.9 million; then any team that signed him away from the Vikings would owe us two first-round picks as compensation.
Obviously, the team doesn’t want to pay him nearly $6 million and you gotta think he’s going to make more than the transition number as a free agent. With Buffalo franchising Nate Clements, Williams will be one of the top cornerbacks available. Williams has also said he doesn’t want to stay here.
I would’ve liked to see the team use the franchise tag on Williams and give him the starting job. Smoot hasn’t really done anything except get injured, but I absolutely love a defensive backfield consisting of Antoine Winfield, Brian Williams, and Fred Smoot.
I guess we’ll need to add a cornerback to our free agency shopping list.