GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -The Green Bay Packers designated defensive tackle Corey Williams as their franchise player Wednesday, preventing him from becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Green Bay also cut veteran tight end Bubba Franks.
As the Packers' franchise player, Williams receives a one-year contract tender offer worth the average of the league's top five defensive tackles in 2007: $6.363 million. Williams still is able to sign an offer sheet with another team, but the Packers have the right to match the offer or receive draft picks as compensation from his new team.
Williams played in all 16 games in 2007, including nine starts. He set career highs with 51 tackles and 32 solo stops and tied his career high with seven sacks. But the move is something of a surprise, given the Packers' depth at defensive tackle.
``Corey is a good young football player and has been a consistent performer for our team,'' Packers general manager Ted Thompson said in a statement.
The Packers released Franks after eight seasons with Green Bay.
A first-round draft choice in 2000, Franks had 256 catches for 2,300 yards, and scored 32 touchdowns.
``We thank Bubba for everything he has given to our franchise,'' Thompson said. ``He was a productive player on the field, a good teammate in the locker room and a fine representative of the Packers in the Green Bay community.''

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