Friday, May 22, 2009

Did the Cowboys get the Right WR?

roy-williams-hookemI haven't touched much on the Dallas Cowboys situation since draft weekend, but I read something a few days ago that got me a bit fired up about what the theme will be moving in 2009 for this team.

The column in question was from The Star Telegram on Sunday where Randy Galloway was writing a very interesting compare/contrast between the Cowboys, Rangers, and Mavericks big trades of the last few years to see how things have worked out.

The premise of it was that the Rangers got the Braves/Teixeira trade totally right (they did), the Mavs got the Kidd trade totally wrong (they did), and the Cowboys sweat out the results of the Roy Williams deal (they do).

In my estimation, (and I am sure he will be glad that a radio guy is estimating anything he wrote) his conclusion is absolutely solid, but my issue is with his last idea on the Cowboys:
But as we await the verdict, a nagging doubt centers on another receiver, Anquan Boldin of the Cardinals. The same first, third and other draft picks, plus the $20 million guaranteed on Roy’s new contract, would have fetched Boldin in a deal.

That’s like asking if you’d rather have Devin/two first-rounders or Kidd.


We can debate the merits of the 28-year-old Anquan Boldin versus the 27-year-old Roy Williams. One is one of the better possession receivers in the league (but also a clear #2 in Arizona) and the other was a former #1 (but in the worst situation in football) who has shown far more potential than performance to this point in his career.

But, do we really want to compare Boldin to Devin Harris and 2 1st-rounders and compare Roy Williams to a 36-year-old Jason Kidd? I realize that Roy Williams had a very underwhelming performance as a Dallas Cowboy in 2008.


10 games resulted in 19 catches for 198 yards and 1 TD (that back shoulder fade from the great Brad Johnson in the win against Tampa Bay) was nothing short of a major disappointment. In fact, that might be labeling it too kindly.

However, isn't it worth mentioning that when he was brought to this team, Tony Romo was hurt? When Romo came back, they had one game (in Washington) before the storm of Terrell Owens vs Jason Garrett broke out for the remainder of the season. Again, I am not saying that it justifies a bad season, I am just trying to make the point that the mess of 2008 is not enough for me to label the Roy Williams deal as a disaster.

But, more importantly, isn't the question about what lies ahead? If you need a potential #1 receiver, would you acquire the WR who had 4 seasons in Detroit - and 3 of them included seasons of more than 15 yards per catch - with those QB's? Or, would you acquire a WR who over the last few years has been the clear #2 in Arizona while Larry Fitzgerald draws coverage and has averaged less than 12 yards per reception over his last 160 catches? And he is older by 14 months.

And, then, if you really think that Boldin would have made more sense here, how can you ignore the fact that he has been complaining about his money for the last year, which amounted to being dissatisfied with his 4-year contract at the start of year 2? And that he was captured on national television going toe-to-toe with his Offensive Coordinator during a playoff game?

I'm not saying he is a horrible human, but I am saying that if my goal for the off-season was to subtract as many knuckleheads as possible, then how can I campaign for a new knucklehead who wants more money and wants to help the coaches run the offense by offering a temper-tantrum for all to see.

Didn't we just watch that episode? And, if we wanted to continue down that path, wouldn't the Cowboys have kept the knucklehead who could turn in big plays?

Roy Williams may have underachieved in his half season here, but I am interested in seeing more. In a quiet huddle. As a #1. In an offense designed to get big plays out of him. With a QB who doesn't have to worry about getting Terrell the ball. It might work, but nothing is for sure.

I just don't see how getting a possession receiver who doesn't seem to offer big plays at this point of his career worthy of discussion as a #1 WR in Dallas? Did you know in the last two years that his yards per catch (11.8) are identical to Jason Witten? 11.8 is great for a TE, but for a #1 WR? Not so much. Owens averaged 16 yards per catch, which is why Roy's 3 seasons of 15 yards+ is at least a reasonable track record to go on in hopes of replacing the dynamic play-making.

Galloway's column is a good read (as is that Star-Telegram Sunday sports page) and certainly got me thinking. I don't disagree with most of his conclusions. But, the idea that a Roy Williams/Anquan Boldin swap is as one-sided as Devin and picks for Jason Kidd was extreme hyperbole.

This much is true, though: Roy Williams should expect comparisons like that to hang over his head until he performs at a very high level in the games that are ahead.

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