I know this is hopelessly outdated, but hey, I was on vacation when it happened. Anyhow, I don't think this is a bad deal. Although the Packers, especially now that Favre's retired, certainly could have afforded to have paid Williams his franchise salary, a second-round pick is pretty fair value for the guy. Williams was a solid-starter. A passable run defender, and a good pass rusher at the DT position. Not a star, not a pro-bowl guy. His success depended on the people around him being pretty good. He didn't create mismatches by himself. Rather, he was able to take advantage of favorable match-ups that other players created. That became very clear when Ryan Pickett missed a couple of games late this past season. In that stretch, with Pickett no longer drawing double-teams, Williams disappeared. When Pickett returned, and Williams started getting more favorable match-ups again, you started hearing Corey's name far more often. I think that's proof that Williams wasn't worth paying like a franchise guy season-in and season-out. He's just not a top-of-the-line defender-- just a good, solid player. The kind of guy that beats iffy opponents one on one, plays solid opponents to a draw, and gives ground to really good opponents. He may look like a star for a year or two in Cleveland playing next to Shaun Rodgers (that was a huge pick-up for the Browns), but really he's just a solid starter, not an all-pro. Better than most guys in the league, but not the cream of the crop. So it's a loss, but not one to be too sad about.
And a second round pick is pretty good value for a solid starter, especially given Thompson's positive draft record, though I would have liked the pick to be higher. (It's the 25th pick of the second round, the 56th pick overall.)
As I mentioned before, you have to wonder a little why the Packers didn't just pay Williams the franchise money this season, then franchise him again next season and trade him then. They have a lot of money lying around, and don't look like they're doing much in free agency this season. But it sounds like Corey became significantly "disgruntled" after the Packers tagged him. He always had nice things to say about the franchise during the season, but upon arrival in Cleveland the only thing he said about Green Bay was that "he wanted out." He said this more than once.
And I can understand being pissed. Given the short career-span of football players, you may only get one chance to sign a big fat deal that sets you up for life. By franchising him and then trading him, the Packers never allowed Williams to sample the market, and the market may very well could have given him even more guaranteed money than Cleveland. And remember, Corey Williams was a sixth round pick. He's been playing for relatively little (in NFL terms) for several years. I think I'd be pissed too.
Going forward, the Packers D-Line rotation looks like this-- LE- Kampman, DT-Jolly (if healthy), DT-Pickett, RE-Jenkins. Back-ups are KGB, Mike Montgomery, and Jason Hunter at end, and Colin Cole, Daniel Muir and Justin Harrell at tackle. That's not a bad group, if people start living up to expectations and if guys like Jenkins and Jolly can get and stay healthy. I'd like to see another end or a pass rushing tackle picked up in the draft though.
P.S. Check out the section of this article, from the Boston Globe, titled "Browns Make Score, But Give Packers Extra Points". (It's about half-way down.) It summarizes Thompson's strategy pretty succinctly, I think.