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2016 Contract-Year Cowboys: WR Terrance Williams

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Blog - 2016 Contract Cowboys: Terrance Williams 1

It is well known throughout all professional sports that contract years for athletes are very important. That is, a player who's contract expires at the end of the season who looks to put together one of their best seasons as a pro in order to bring in top money from another team, or show his current team enough to be resigned.

We have already talked extensively here at Inside The Star about current Cowboys who's contracts have expired, as we approach free agency. Now, let's fast-forward to the start of the 2016 season and take a look at a Cowboys wide receiver who will be playing in a contract year.

Cowboys Blog - 2016 Contract Cowboys: Terrance Williams

Terrance Williams

Terrance Williams' time in Dallas has been highlighted by inconsistency. His stat lines from his first three seasons as a Cowboy are as follows:

2013 - 44 REC 736 YDS 5 TDs

2014 - 37 REC 621 YDS 8 TDs

2015 - 52 REC 840 YDS 3 TDs

Coming into this season, fans took some slight comfort in coping with the possibility of playing without Dez Bryant, because Terrance Williams was ready to take over as a top target.

While Dez was limited the whole season when on the field, Williams did little to step up and help the Cowboys offense. Yes, he had to deal with the likes of Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel throwing him the ball, but a WR who is only good when playing with a top QB is not a player who will bring in a large contract.

The knocks on Williams' have been that he is a body catcher and that he checks out of plays in which he is not the primary target. However, we saw in the later half of the season how dangerous he can be if he does indeed get the ball in his hands.

As a three-year player, the honest evaluation on Williams to this point is that if you are relying on him to be your second best receiver, you have an issue. If you ask him to be a role player to take the top off the defense as part of a deeper receiving core, you can likely live with Terrance Williams.

Brice Butler made the most of his playing time down the stretch in Dallas, and the thought was that he will replace Williams on the outside next season. If this does indeed happen, I do not see Williams returning in 2017 as a role player.

Dez Bryant is the franchise's pride at the receiver position, locked up on a mega-contract until 2019. What the Cowboys get out of this contract to Bryant will be dictated by who they get to play across from him. While Butler likely isn't the long-term answer to that question, Terrance Williams has shown that he is not that guy as well.

I expect Butler to replace Williams after training camp, and the Cowboys to also bring in another WR through the draft or free agency.

Terrance Williams is certainly a guy that needs a big contract year for the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.

Tell us what you think about "2016 Contract-Year Cowboys: WR Terrance Williams" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Randy

    January 14, 2016 at 11:53 am

    First of all, I am not a fan of Williams. He seems to have an inherent flaw that limits his ceiling or perhaps this is his ceiling and that's not so bad for a #3 receiver. But he is not a #2 and never will be in my opinion. He can be incredibly frustrating with the drops and then he will make an amazing catch. I think he is worth keeping as depth. But I have to ask you to expand on why you think Butler will overtake him. What have you seen to indicate that? Butler couldn't grab a job at Oakland when they were hungry to find starters at the position and he seems to be a one trick pony with speed on fly patterns.

  2. Ronmexico

    January 14, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    he's a body catcher that doesn't run great routes and really has no speed. time to move on.

  3. Blue Star

    January 14, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Move on from him.

  4. Sean Martin

    Sean Martin

    January 14, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    InsideTheStar.com User

    First of all, I am not a fan of Williams. He seems to have an inherent flaw that limits his ceiling or perhaps this is his ceiling and that's not so bad for a #3 receiver. But he is not a #2 and never will be in my opinion. He can be incredibly frustrating with the drops and then he will make an amazing catch. I think he is worth keeping as depth. But I have to ask you to expand on why you think Butler will overtake him. What have you seen to indicate that? Butler couldn't grab a job at Oakland when they were hungry to find starters at the position and he seems to be a one trick pony with speed on fly patterns.

    I would argue that Williams is more of the one trick pony in running streak routes, but Butler is better than him in that area anyway. It's such a small sample size with Butler, but he seems to run crisp routes and is explosive with the ball in his hands. Want to see more of him with Romo, which we will in training camp, and from there I think he will prove a lot more than Terrance.

    • Randy

      January 14, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      Valid point on seeing Butler with Romo through camp and like Zac mentions below he reminds him of Miles Austin. Oddly Butler is one inch taller at 6'3" and they are the same weight. Butler is also a bit faster at 4.37 vs. 4.47. One thing about Butler is he is slow off the line and has a long stride so when he gets in the open field he can really accelerate. It's just getting by the defender. I would like to see him use his height and be more physical. Maybe in fairness to Butler he did kind of go through some stuff as he started there, such as coaching changes, QB changes, and maybe it didn't allow him to get his footing. He was a 7th pick and apparently Dallas saw something to make them give up a conditional 5th so I think they should give him an opportunity to see what he can do. I hope he blossoms but the jury is out. While I don't think we need to be looking at Treadwell with the #4 pick, I think there are some excellent options with our 2nd and 3rd picks and always some hidden jewels in later rounds. It was not until Austin's 4th year that he blossomed and since Butler is heading into his 4th year, maybe this is his year!

  5. Zac Fields

    January 14, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Brice Butler reminds me a lot of Miles Austin, and anyone who has been around these forums for a little while knows I was a fan of Austin's.

    I always put it like this: tons of receivers are fast. Tons of receivers can catch the ball well. Tons of receiver run fast AND catch the ball well. The differentiating factor among wide receivers, as far as I'm concerned, is route-running.

    Most starting NFL cornerbacks can shut down receivers who are poor route-runners, even ones that are blazing fast. I see speed-demon after speed-demon come through the NFL at the wide receiver position and ultimately prove disappointing. I have NEVER seen a wide receiver be described as a great route-runner and not have a nice window of decent production in their career.

    I LOVE wide receivers who behave like students of the game. I feel like Brice Butler might be one of those guys. Runs very good routes, covers the basic stuff (like not "stutter-stepping" when you're coming off the ball, catching the ball with your hands, etc).

    He might ultimately end up not being as good as I hope he'll be, but I feel pretty confident he's more than an experiment.

  6. Jess Haynie

    Jess Haynie

    January 16, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    Williams is a #2 receiver and nothing more. That's okay when the #1 receiver is actually active but there's an issue when your #2 guy can't come close to filling those shoes. They need to do better. That may be Butler, who looked great last year, but I have no issue with them spending as high as the #4 pick on a receiver.

  7. Sean Martin

    Sean Martin

    January 16, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Seems like Jess is creeping towards joining RJ on #TeamTreadwell haha

    Sent from my iPhone using Pigskin Hub – Pro Football Forums mobile app. Check out InsideTheStar.com!

  8. RJ Ochoa

    RJ Ochoa

    January 16, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    One of us! One of us! #TeamTreadwell

    Sent from my iPhone using Pigskin Hub – Pro Football Forums mobile app

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Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Jess Haynie

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Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

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Much has been made about the Dallas Cowboys 2019 free agent class. Dallas has a ton of cap space moving forward, but they are going to "have" to pay many of the key players on their roster over the next two offseasons in order to keep their young core together.

Of course, when you're drafting, that's the goal. To draft so well that when your own players become free agents, you go ahead and pay them to keep them around, rather than overpay on the free agent market for external players.

One of the major pieces the Cowboys will have to retain this offseason is defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. And while Cowboys Nation often thinks of Lawrence as underrated around the league, the NFL has caught onto his importance as he enters free agency this Spring.

ESPN.com ranked their top 10 free agents for 2019, with DeMarcus Lawrence clocking in at number one, over elite players like Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell.

ig: josinaanderson on Twitter

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DeMarcus Lawrence is going to command big time money, likely even Khalil Mack-type money. But the fact of the matter is that he has earned it. Lawrence has been the heart and soul of the Cowboys defensive line the last two seasons, and the most consistent edge player on the team as well.

Not only has he been an effective pass rusher, but DeMarcus Lawrence also plays with a relentless motor against the run that can sometimes be rare to find in those premier pass rushers. He really is a jack of all trades at defensive end, and should be priority number one for the Cowboys this offseason.

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When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott

John Williams

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All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.

In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.

During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...

...of his offensive lineman.

During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.

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With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.



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