Playing on the final year of his rookie contract, Terrance Williams must be wondering what the future holds. The wide receiver will likely enter free agency next March and could be looking at a major life upheaval.
Williams was born and went to high school in Dallas. He went to college at Baylor, roughly 90 minutes down the road. He has spent the last four years playing for the Cowboys.
Obviously, leaving Dallas would carry far more significance for Terrance than the average player. However, that's not the Cowboys' concern. It will come down to whether or not Williams is valuable enough for a second contract.
Even with Dez Bryant missing the last three games, Terrance Williams has not emerged as the go-to receiver. Jason Witten and Cole Beasley lead the team with 42 and 39 targets, respectively, to just 24 for Williams.
To his credit, though, Williams has 20 catches on those 24 targets. That 83% (ironically) nearly matches Beasley's 84% and is far ahead of Witten (67%) and Brice Butler (47%). He leads all of these receiving options with a 15.6 average per catch.
It's a new high in efficiency for Terrance Williams, who has been known in the past for his drops. But is this enough to keep the Cowboys interest?
It hasn't been all been roses. Williams' had the biggest blunder of the season thus far by not running out of bounds at the end of the Cowboys' Week 1 loss to the New York Giants. He ruined a 47-yard catch against the Chicago Bears with a fumble. Against the Cincinnati Bengals, Williams had a chance to recover a Prescott fumble but failed to scoop up the ball and allowed the Bengals to snag it away.
With Bryant set to return this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, Williams' opportunities to make positive are sure to decrease. Whether Dak Prescott or Tony Romo is the quarterback for the rest of the season, the Cowboys' top three receiving options are locked in with Bryant, Beasley, and Witten.
It also doesn't help that Williams turns 28 next September. If given a long-term deal, his physical abilities will likely be diminishing on the back end of the contract. Receivers are just below running backs in terms of the fear that performance will decline with age.
With neither Terrance Williams or Brice Butler really emerging this year, I expect the Cowboys to look for something better this offseason. With Dez Bryant's recent injury history and Jason Witten moving closer to the end, they need another receiver in the stable who has above-average ability.
There's always the chance that Williams could test free agency, not find interest, and then return to Dallas on a minimal contract. We've seen this many times at other positions; a veteran used as insurance in case the draft doesn't yield a new option.
Having lived his whole life within the same 90-minute radius, Terrance Williams may want a new experience. Going to college less than two hours from home isn't quite the same. Perhaps he will go into free agency hoping for a change of scenery, both for his professional and personal growth.
With his current resume and production rate, I don't expect Williams to remain a Cowboy beyond 2016. However, he has 13 games (it's Week 8, do the math) left to change some minds.
Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson
The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.
Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.
The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.
Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.
Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.
For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.
Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal
At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.
The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.
Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.
Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.
A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.
Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.
Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders
Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.
Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.
To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.
In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.
Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.
Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.
Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.
Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.
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