IRVING, Texas -- Terrance Williams is facing a critical year in his career.
He is in the final year of his rookie contract. He's made an impact on the Cowboys offense since he arrived as a third-round pick in 2013. He has 133 catches for 2,197 yards and 16 touchdowns. He is coming off a year in which he set career highs in receptions (52) and yards (840) and caught three touchdowns.
But is he a cornerstone piece for the future for the Cowboys or is he destined to find a bigger payday elsewhere if he produces in 2016?
But the decision on Williams goes beyond the receiver position. On Wednesday, Ezekiel Elliott signed his four-year, $24.9 million deal. The Cowboys have picked up the 2017 option on Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick, which is worth $8.8 million. They have the 2018 option to think about next spring on Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin. They would like to sign Frederick and Martin to long-term deals, if possible.
What type of money can they afford to pay Williams while not tipping the scales even more to the offense when it comes to cap space?
Williams has big-play ability. He can run all day. He has not missed a game or a practice.
Last year he was asked to step up to the No. 1 receiver role when Bryant went down with a broken foot. Statistically, it did not go well but to put all of that on Williams is to ignore the Cowboys' ineffective quarterback play after Romo went down with his collarbone injuries.
Williams said he will try not to worry about the future.
“Now, I’m just ready to be quiet and work and let my play speak for it, because you can always talk what you’re going to do and then if it doesn’t go as planned, it’s like a slap to your face,” Williams said. “So I’m just ready to work and just show my play."
To the Cowboys and the rest of the league.