When the Dallas Cowboys drafted Terrance Williams in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, there was a strategy that the combination of Dez Bryant and Williams would be deadly. In his rookie season, Williams came into the league firing on all cylinders, immediately establishing himself as a top contributor to this offense. Williams’ rookie campaign ultimately led to the Cowboys going a separate direction from Miles Austin.
In spite of that initial success, Williams has also been an enigmatic receiver. There are times where he’s extremely consistent with his routes, but then there are times where he struggles to get open and stay on the field in the blocking department. The main flaw on Williams will always be that he’s a body-catcher and not someone that will go up for the football and come down with it using his hands. The one thing that has plagued him is consistency.
At 26-years-old, Williams will be entering the last year of his rookie contract. But given his lack of consistent production over the course of his Dallas tenure, the Cowboys would benefit more by holding off contract negotiations and instead having him focused for the upcoming season. The going rate for No. 2 receivers is pretty expensive in the NFL. Mohamed Sanu somehow received a five-year deal worth up to $32.5 million. Williams has been as productive as Sanu, leading me to believe that his value will be extremely high.
Williams could very well spurn the Cowboys and go to a team that can afford to pay him upwards of that contract, whereas the Cowboys simply cannot, or will not, do that. They also have a chip in their arsenal in Brice Butler. With a size and speed combination as good as Butler’s, it’s easy to see why the Cowboys really like him.
Looking back at the 2015 season, Williams had the best statistical season of his career. He was able to do this without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. With those two returning in 2016 as well as a running back entering the equation in Ezekiel Elliott, Williams could be primed for the best year of his career as the guy the defenses will have to single-cover with all the other weapons Dallas' possess.
It seems that each year we are extremely critical of Williams and what he does across from Bryant. Do I think he’s a legitimate No. 2 wide receiver? I'm not so sure. Barring any injury, Williams will be slated to play across from Bryant. Butler might make all of the progress in the world to become a full-time starter, but the job opposite of Bryant is Williams’ to lose.
This past offseason proved that the Cowboys’ plan is to stay away from free agency and instead retain their own and improve through the draft. By doing this, the Cowboys stay away from giving out huge, lengthy contracts to players that may actually not be worth their market value. The problem with this is that Williams will command money that may be out of the Cowboys’ range and that may lead to him signing with a team that may be more receiver-needy.
But if the Cowboys have hopes of reaching the Super Bowl this upcoming season, Williams’ development will be something extremely important to monitor. With Elliott and Romo in the offense, the likelihood of Bryant having another extremely productive season is high. But Williams will need to come into his own this upcoming season. He is in a contract year, and his success could be tied to how successful the Cowboys are as a team. But his success could also lead to his departure from the team.