Lions' return for Roy Williams: TE Brandon Pettigrew

IRVING, Texas – Jerry Jones admitted the obvious in late July.

“I’d love to have that trade back,” Jerry said in late July, days after he finally gave up on blockbuster trade bust Roy Williams.

Detroit, on the other hand, has to be pretty satisfied with the deal.

It didn’t work out as well as it could have for the Lions. The third- and sixth-round picks Detroit got in the trade never made an impact and are long gone from the Lions’ roster. But tight end Brandon Pettigrew, the tight end the Lions selected with the 20th overall pick in 2009, is blossoming into a big weapon for an up-and-coming offense.

The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Pettigrew caught 71 passes for 722 yards and four touchdowns last season. He has 16 catches for 176 yards during Detroit’s 3-0 start this season, including career bests of 11 catches for 112 yards in last week’s comeback win over the Vikings.

“He’s the security blanket for me,” quarterback Matthew Stafford told reporters last week. “I love throwing the ball to him. He’s got great hands. [He’s a] big, physical guy, and he understands the game.”

Pettigrew has career totals of 117 catches for 1,244 yards and six touchdowns in 30 games, numbers that will grow exponentially in the years to come. Williams ended his Cowboys tenure with 94 catches for 1,324 yards and 13 touchdowns in 40 games, collecting $27 million in guaranteed money in the process.

The Lions had no plans to re-sign Williams in free agency and managed to flip him for a significant piece in their rebuilding project. That should make every Pettigrew catch Sunday especially painful to watch for the Cowboys’ front office and fans.