All NFL players dream about getting that big, new contract once their rookie deals expire. For wide receiver Terrance Williams, the 2017 free agent market may make it hard for him to get a significant raise. In fact, he may just be hoping that the Cowboys still want him.
Williams, who turns 28 in September, is a minor name in a loaded WR free agent group this March. Just look at the following:
- Terrance did not make the NFL.com Top-101 free agent list. There were 12 other receivers who did.
- He failed to make SB Nation’s Top-100 list also, even though fellow Cowboys like RB Darren McFadden and J.J. Wilcox did.
- He was ranked #19 on WalterFootball’s list of 2017 free agent receivers.
There has been no indication yet as to either Terrance Williams’ or the Cowboys’ interest level in continuing their relationship. Given the daunting free agent market he would be entering, Williams has little-to-no leverage in any contract negotiations right now. His stock would even worsen if he goes unsigned by other teams, strengthening the Cowboys’ position.
Back in December I wrote that Dallas should look for an upgrade for their number-two receiver. Williams has been okay, and is coming off his best season as a Cowboy, but hasn’t proven that he can consistently step up when Dez Bryant is injured or getting taken out of a game by the defense.
However, the Cowboys have 52 other roster spots and a salary cap to worry about. If they like Williams enough to keep him around, they might use their leverage to try to get Terrance to accept a minor contract extension.
Remember, Terrance Williams is a hometown boy. He was born in Dallas and played college ball at Baylor. Usually, those can be powerful motivators for a guy to want to stick around.
Still, even a one-year, “prove it” contract could be a major blow for Williams. He’s on the older side for a first-time free agent and would be turning 29 for next year’s market. Even if he has a strong season for the Cowboys, teams would be leery of giving a guy major money right before he enters his thirties.
Despite the “number-two” label he would have in Dallas, Terrance wouldn’t be more than the fourth option in the passing offense. Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley are Dak Prescott’s favorite targets and Jason Witten is still around. There is little reason to think that Williams’ role would expand enough to improve his stock much.
For all we know, Williams wants a change of scenery and isn’t even looking to return to Dallas. Perhaps he wants to live somewhere different after a lifetime in Texas. However, he faces the very real prospect of having no suitors in this year’s free agency. Even if a team does have interest, Terrance may be fighting for a starting job.
The harsh NFL business world could force Terrance Williams to accept far less than he was probably hoping for. It may also push him back home towards Dallas, where familiarity and system knowledge might make him more attractive than to outside teams.
Clearly, the Cowboys have the leverage. The question now is if they’ll even want to use it.