Today we continue taking a look at the Dallas Cowboys’ upcoming free agents. Our second profile features a player who had one of the toughest seasons on the team last year, offensive lineman Connor Williams.
Player: Connor Williams
Age: 24 (25 in May)
2021 Stats: 17 G, 14 GS, 949 Offensive Snaps (77.28%)
2021 Review: It was a rough year for 24-year-old offensive lineman Connor Williams. Coming off a season in which he performed pretty well, earning a career-high 70.8 offensive grade via Pro Football Focus, Williams was trending in the right direction heading into a contract year. Unfortunately for the former Longhorn, things didn’t continue to go his way.
The former second-round pick had a disaster of a season in 2021, which included being benched mid-season in favor of second-year guard Connor McGovern, and leading the NFL in penalties with 17 called and 14 enforced.
While Williams did eventually get his starting job back in Week 15, he did not play all that great in the final five games of the season. The lineman also had an awful game in the Wild Card round against the 49ers, recording two key penalties and a 48.9 pass-block grade via PFF.
Make it third-and-9: False start on LG Connor Williams. pic.twitter.com/QfbG4jDWxz— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) January 17, 2022
Big DJ Jones vs #52 Connor Williams... WHEW! pic.twitter.com/ogoDeNqmd3— ❌❌❌ (@FTB_Vids_YT) January 16, 2022
Free Agency Outlook: While Williams did have a miserable season, he is still only 24 years old and has shown some promise at times. Williams lacks ideal size for an offensive guard, so teams may be interested in turning him back into a tackle like he was at Texas.
Spotrac projects Williams’ market value at a four-year, $52.8M deal, $12.3M a year. Teams certainly are always looking for offensive line help, but it seems hard to believe that Williams will get something close to that mark. Spotrac’s projected contract for Williams would have him becoming the eighth-highest paid guard in football, and that’s just not close to the level of player he is at the current moment.
While he likely won’t cash in at that big of a dollar value, the young lineman will still likely draw a decent amount of interest around the league. If he was able to limit the penalties, Williams could be a decent contributor on the line, and all it takes is one team to believe they can help stop his biggest flaw.
Cowboys Fit: Out of all the upcoming free agents the Cowboys have to make decisions on, Williams seems like one of the easiest. It clearly did not work in Dallas, and the Cowboys need a more physical player on the interior of their offensive line. Williams just is not that guy, and Dallas does not have enough money to sign him and hope he can one day turn into what they need. He was a solid player for his four seasons in Dallas, but both Williams and the Cowboys can benefit from a change of scenery in free agency.
Final Verdict: It sure seems like Connor Williams has played his last snap in Dallas. The Cowboys don’t have much depth on the offensive line, so there is always a small chance at a reunion if Williams does not get a big deal on the open market, but it seems much more likely Dallas rolls with Connor McGovern or a draft pick at guard next season.
Prediction: Connor Williams signs a three-year deal with the Miami Dolphins