IRVING, Texas -- Late last week the Jacksonville Jaguars signed wide receiver Allen Hurns to a four-year deal worth $40 million, including $20 million guaranteed.
The Dallas Cowboys should have been paying attention.
The Cowboys should have been paying attention then, too.
Terrance Williams is entering the final year of his contract. He has never missed a game for the Cowboys. He can, as Jason Garrett wants from his receivers, run all day. He works hard. He has some maddening times where he doesn’t make the plays all of the time.
The Hurns and Sanu contracts, however, are a precursor to Williams’ future.
Because Hurns was undrafted in 2014, the Jaguars were able to sign him to a long-term extension after his second season. Draft picks aren’t allowed to sign extensions with their teams until after the their third year. If they could, the Cowboys would already have a deal in place for Zack Martin, their first rounder in 2014.
Hurns' deal is the biggest for a wide receiver in Jacksonville history. Is he better than Jimmy Smith or Keenan McCardell? No, but this is a sign of the times with teams that have tons of salary cap room. Hurns caught 64 passes for 1,031 yards and 10 touchdowns last season after putting up 51 catches for 677 yards and six scores as a rookie.
Sanue’s deal also included a $7 million signing bonus. He caught 33 passes for 394 yards and no touchdowns last season for the Cincinnati Bengals. For his four-year career he has 152 catches for 1,793 yards and 11 touchdowns.
In three seasons, Williams has more yards (2,197) and touchdowns (16) than Sanu to go with 133 receptions. Sanu’s best season came in 2014 when he caught 56 passes for 790 yards and five scores. Williams’ best season came last year when he caught 52 passes for 840 yards and three scores. He did have eight touchdowns in 2014.
The Cowboys typically try to re-sign their free agents to-be in the offseason before the final year of their contracts. To date, it does not sound as if there have been many or any discussions about a long-term deal.
The Cowboys have made huge financial investments on their offense with Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith, and they just drafted Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall. Jason Witten is among the higher paid tight ends. They have picked up the fifth-year option on center Travis Frederick's contract for 2017 worth $8.8 million.
Based on the contracts of Hurns and Sanu, can the Cowboys add another large contract to their offense for Williams?
Barring an injury or a completely miserable season, Williams is looking at a hefty pay raise in 2017. It just might not come from the Cowboys.