FRISCO, Texas -- Before free agency began, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Terrance Williams would sign elsewhere, but the Dallas Cowboys agreed to a four-year deal with their 2013 third-round draft pick on Friday.
Other free-agent receivers were able to cash in before Williams, which might have lowered his market. But the Cowboys were able to keep a key piece to their offense. Considering Dallas' losses defensively on the first day of free agency, that's not such a bad move. Williams has 177 catches for 2,791 yards and 20 touchdowns in his career.
ESPN 150 Ranking: No. 57
Terms: Four years, $17 million, $9.5 million guaranteed
Grade B: Williams has flaws, but he has not missed a game in his career. Williams has put up numbers similar to what Kenny Stills put up in his first four years, and Stills received a four-year, $32 million deal that included $20 million guaranteed to stay with the Miami Dolphins. Williams has more catches and yards than Stills and the same amount of touchdowns (20).
What it means: The Cowboys were looking at selecting a wide receiver high in the draft after re-signing Brice Butler the day before free agency began. While the re-signing of Williams does not take them out of the receiver market, they are not pressed to add one. The return of Williams means quarterback Dak Prescott will have all of his top targets back again in 2017 in Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Williams and Butler. Williams had 44 catches for 594 yards and four touchdowns in 2016. Williams has averaged nearly 16 yards a catch for his career. He also might become the answer to a trivia question, in that he caught what appears to be Tony Romo's final touchdown pass as a Cowboys quarterback.
What's the risk? At first glance, there is minimal risk from the aspect of financials and performance. The Cowboys' coaches think highly of Williams, who might not have missed a practice in his career, either. He can run all day, as head coach Jason Garrett says. He had his best statistical year in 2015. But many viewed him as a disappointment when he became the No. 1 receiver in Bryant's absence; the quarterback play in Romo's absence played a part in that, as well. Williams knows the system. He knows the division. He understands his place in the offense. He is a reliable blocker. A Dallas native, he also gets to stay home.