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Cowboys Free Agency: How Important Is Re-Signing WR Terrance Williams?

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Free Agency: WR Terrance Williams Will Test Dallas' Proven Approach

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams is set to become a free agent this offseason, and the third round draft pick from 2013 will likely not be welcomed back with open arms by many in Cowboys Nation. With 32 career games with two or less receptions, it is understandable that a player like Williams could warrant replacing after holding down the WR2 job behind Dez Bryant through his entire Cowboys' career - with little competition to ever take advantage of his inconsistencies.

Before we even discuss the money it could take to keep Terrance Williams with the Cowboys, it is important to understand Dallas' approach to free agency in general. With last offseason being a great example, Will McClay and this front office have prioritized re-signing their own players in free agency prior to the draft - where they can then add players at needed positions for a much lower price.

Particularly, players that have had some success in whatever their (often limited) role was with the team under their first contract become key free agents for the Cowboys to retain. Jack Crawford and Kyle Wilber are examples of this on the defensive side of the ball coming into this season, as neither of their extensions made front page news, but both players added valuable depth at positions that would have required more resources to acquire this depth elsewhere.

Like it or not, Terrance Williams has been a pretty good second receiver for the Cowboys throughout his career, and his exit in free agency would leave a depth chart of Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, and pending free agent Brice Butler.

Andy Jones is also still hanging out on the Cowboys practice squad, for those wondering.

Again, based on what we know about this team's philosophy in handling free agents like Williams, they would be unhappy to go into draft night with Bryant and Beasley as their only proven wide receivers. This would be a direct detriment to Dallas' "best player available" approach when on the clock, and adds all that much more value for Terrance Williams on this team. 

Cowboys Headlines - Is Terrance Williams The Cowboys' Most-Hated Player?

Of course, every team in the league is also going to get a chance to look at Williams, and the bidding war that could ensue for an athletic WR like him may take the Cowboys right out of the running to retain #83.

Omar Kelly on Twitter

I've been told to project that Dolphins WR Kenny Stills is in the 5-yr, $30M neighborhood on a new salary, with $12.5M-plus being guarantee.

Without fail, wide receivers get paid a pretty penny each offseason - mainly because of their ability to translate rather easily into new offenses, regardless of scheme.

Has Williams' production been good enough for the Dallas Cowboys to prioritize him that much, and allocate money that could be used to bring back Brandon Carr, Barry Church, or Terrell McClain to a defense that is going to need improvements as is?

On the surface, this answer is a steady no from most. Williams has had numerous opportunities over the past seasons to step up and establish himself further in this offense when Dez Bryant has gone down with injuries, and each time he has failed to be a true "number one".

Terrance Williams is a clear-cut WR2, and one that has been with Scott Linehan for some time now though. He has a carved out role in Linehan's offense at this WR2 position.

For as long as the Cowboys offensive line is in place, with Ezekiel Elliott being the featured back to utilize this line, Dallas will always be a better running team than they are passing.

This isn't to say that upgrades shouldn't be made to the cast of targets that Dak Prescott has to throw to, but he was certainly comfortable as a rookie getting the ball to Bryant, Beasley, Witten, and then Williams for 44 receptions and four touchdowns.

The entirety of the Cowboys organization realize that they are just a few players away from greatness, but these impact players need to be added at the positions where they will indeed make the biggest and most consistent impact.

Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams

While WR is one spot to expect improvement from in 2017, the same can be said about almost any position on defense.

If you want the Cowboys to shift their focus to this defense in the 2017 NFL Draft (a slight focus at that, with the BPA model still firmly in place), they will need to take a similar approach to free agency as they did a season ago. That is, emphasize re-signing the valuable players that make up this incredibly talented 53 man roster at a solid price, and add your stars through the draft.

The price might not be right for Terrance Williams, and he surely might not be a star, but don't be surprised when the Cowboys put plenty of energy into making sure that Williams wears the star in 2017 and beyond.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Free Agency: How Important Is Re-Signing 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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3 Comments
  • bad dawg

    I know I am the last person the Cowboys would listen to on drafting a certain player, however Bobby Engram from ole miss is going to be a superstar in this league the way he can run routes and create mismatches. I would also target Fred Ross as well. Those two will give you impact players at the tight end and #2 receiver.

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Cowboys WR Terrance Williams Facing Multi-Game Suspension

Jess Haynie

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Terrance Williams
Ric Tapia via AP

An arrest last May for public intoxication may finally result in a suspension for Dallas Cowboys Receiver Terrance Williams.

David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, who reported the pending suspension, outlined the details of Williams' case. Charges were ultimately dropped once Terrance completed an alcohol education course and paid damages to the city.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys WR Terrance Williams faces suspension stemming from May arrest for public intoxication https://t.co/3RmwQOllim via @sportsdaydfw

However, as Cowboys fans know too well, the NFL reserves the right to suspend players under the Personal Conduct Policy regardless of legal outcomes. The 2017 season was marred by the league's persecution of Ezekiel Elliott for domestic violence despite no arrests or charges coming from any legal or police entity.

In Williams' case, there's no dispute of his guilt. It is unlikely he will appeal any decision the NFL makes.

The potential that Terrance will be missing for 2-4 games helps explain the Cowboys' move earlier this week to bring back WR Brice Butler. With both currently active, Dallas has an unusually high seven receivers on their 53-man roster.

It's already Friday, so the suspension is doubtful to come for this week's game in Seattle. But Terrance could easily be one of the seven inactive players on game day, having received the fewest snaps of any Cowboys WR last week against the Giants.

We'll see soon enough, likely as soon as next week, just what the league has in store for Terrance Williams.



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Report: Dallas Cowboys to Sign Free Agent Wide Receiver Brice Butler

John Williams

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5 Bye Week Adjustments Cowboys Hopefully Made

The Dallas Cowboys look to be making a move at the wide receiver position as they attempt to bring some life to the position. No they aren't trading for Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon, but bringing back former Wide Receiver Brice Butler.

According to a report from Saad Yousuf from The Athletic, the Dallas Cowboys are set to resign the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver but first have to release someone from the 53-man roster.

Saad Yousuf on Twitter

Cowboys officials are in the process of signing wide receiver Brice Butler, multiple sources tell @TheAthleticDFW. The team has to make a roster move to bring Butler onto the 53 and is trying to decide whom to release to make room for Butler before a final decision is made.

Brice Butler was signed in the offseason by the Arizona Cardinals but was released after training camp. It was a surprising move for the Cardinals. They don't have a ton of wide receiver depth aside from future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald.

Butler's caught 73 passes on 133 targets for 1,177 yards and eight touchdowns in his five career. In 36 games with the Dallas Cowboys Brice Butler caught 43 passes on 81 targets for 794 yards and six touchdowns. In his time in Dallas, he averaged 18.5 yards per reception.

He never really got a lot of playing time with the Dallas Cowboys who had Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley and Jason Witten on the team for the duration of his time in Dallas. The Cowboys coaching staff placed a higher premium on Terrance Williams' run blocking than Butler's big play ability.

To the coaching staff's credit, Butler was never a consistent enough player to be relied upon week in and week out. In 2017, his last season in Dallas, Brice Butler was never targeted more than three times a game and he never caught more than two passes a game. Butler, however, only played 24.51% of the Dallas Cowboys' offensive snaps in 2017.

If the Dallas Cowboys do make this move it's at a curious time. Sources tell 247 Sports' Mike Fisher that the Dallas Cowboys have zero interest at the moment in Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon. You'd think their lack of interest would be because they still like the wide receiver room as it is.

If they do complete the signing of Brice Butler, you'd have to expect that Deonte Thompson would be the wide receiver on the chopping block. They cut him at the end of the preseason and then brought him back during week one.

This signing is unlikely to have an impact on the Dallas Cowboys week two matchup with the New York Giants, but will probably be completed early Monday to get Butler to Frisco to begin preparing for their week three matchup.

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I don't think this is a move that makes a lot of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. They've been down that road before and haven't received the results they wanted. Brice Butler does offer some big play ability, but it was thought that is why they brought in Deonte Thompson and Tavon Austin. Is it possible the Dallas Cowboys are already down on those two players after one game? They wouldn't be bringing Butler back if they didn't have plans for him.

Good or bad, do you think bringing Brice Butler back is the right move for the Dallas Cowboys?



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Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon’s Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency

Sean Martin

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Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon's Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency

It's Sunday morning and the Cleveland Browns are expected to make a questionable decision by tomorrow, which is far from news for a Dallas Cowboys team waiting around for a crucial Sunday Night Football home game tonight. With Cleveland expected to part ways with troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon though, the Cowboys have understandably been linked to Gordon, even more so now with the talented pass catcher stating his own interest in America's Team.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

As teams discuss potentially trading for outgoing #Browns WR Josh Gordon, I'm told he's got his eye on two in particular: The #Cowboys and the #49ers.

Before looking into this any further, it's necessary to point out an all-important missing detail. Without any reports of the Cowboys own interest in Gordon, the soon-to-be free agent is simply the latest player to say he'd like to play for the Cowboys - hardly anything new for the Jones.

The Cowboys need for a player like Gordon has never been more evident though. Heavily criticized throughout the offseason for how they handled their wide receivers, the Cowboys passing game was a non-factor in the team's 16-8 week one loss.

Signing or trading for Gordon could do little to fix this, but the risk may also prove worthwhile for Dallas. The Baylor Bears product did put up 1,646 yards in 2013 with minimal talent around him, and has a career 17.3 yards per reception.

His ability to take the top off a defense is something the Cowboys are sorely missing. What they won't miss from not acquiring Gordon is the off-field trouble, taking on a player that missed all of 2015 and 2016 due to suspension.

Last season,  Gordon was reinstated for the Browns final five games.

The NFL is, at least cautiously, easing their policy on players suspended for marijuana usage. Look no further than the Cowboys own Randy Gregory to prove this, as Gregory has already become a success story for the league by being with the Cowboys this season.

Whether or not Gregory plays on Sunday night (officially listed as DOUBTFUL) after suffering a concussion in his long-awaited return last week is yet to be determined. So too is Josh Gordon's future as the latest player on his way out of Cleveland.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

From @gmfb Weekend: The #Browns plan to release Josh Gordon after he showed up late, injured his hamstring during a photo shoot, and in general completely lost their trust. https://t.co/cX2HGZPBXi

I'm of the belief that Gordon won't last long on the open market, meaning this won't be the latest Cowboys story/non-story to drag through the presses. Any fan looking to pass time between now and kickoff against the Giants could probably find me saying the same about free agent WR Dez Bryant however.

Thanks to Bryant still being a free agent along with former Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey, the team has looked smarter than expected in the long-term on moves like these.

If there's a smart way to bring on Josh Gordon, Dallas should be considering that too.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys, 49ers Are WR Josh Gordon’s Preferred Teams in Trade/Free Agency" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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