Christopher Reina. 14th October, 2008 - 5:43 pm
The Dallas Cowboys completed a rare in-season trade for a former Pro Bowler when they acquired wide receiver Roy Williams from the Detroit Lions in exchange for first, third' and sixth round picks in 2009.
The cost of three picks for the Cowboys is high, but they are virtually certain of signing the Texas native, who was a Longhorn and has publicly talked about his desire for returning to his home state in free agency this offseason.
It is difficult to judge what kind of pro wide receiver Williams really is and can be due to how bad the Lions have been during his 4+ seasons.
Williams was ranked 29th among wide receivers in season FIC in 2007 and 50th this season, which makes him very middle of the road amongst elite receivers.
He is incredibly big and looks like a playmaker on every snap, but his statistical output has been in reverse since his 2006 season when he caught 82 balls for 1,310 yards and seven touchdowns.
Williams' yards per catch average dipped from 16.0 that year to 13.1 in 2007 and is up slightly this season to 13.6. He has only caught 3.4 balls per game and a long of just 25.
He missed the final four seasons of 2007 due to a knee injury and has been bothered by a hip this season.
The price is incredibly steep to essentially rent a 1B quality wide receiver for 10 weeks plus the playoffs, but I fully expect Williams to remain in Dallas for the next five-seven season as the eventual replacement to Terrell Owens.
Any team could use another wide receiver, but with Owens, Jason Witten and even Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin (both of whom I am really high on), the need for Williams was not nearly as pressing as that need for a cornerback due to the injury to Terence Newman and suspension to Adam Jones.
This is not window dressing for the Tony Romo injury or Jones' suspension, because I believe the Cowboys are thinking beyond 2008. But if they're not, it's as exorbitant of a window dressing as anything we'll see in their new stadium.
Grade for Dallas: C+
Detroit clearly wasn't going anywhere this season- they are 0-5 and will be without Jon Kitna for the remainder of 2008.
Williams would have wanted No.1 WR kind of money even though Calvin Johnson is very clearly the superior player and instead of letting him leave for nothing in a few months, they will have the chance to improve significantly with an additional first rounder and third rounder in 2009. For a team with as many depth issues and across the board team needs as the Lions, this is a huge windfall and offsets the use of a 7th overall pick they used on Williams in 2004.
Without the Joey Harrington and Charles Rogers mistakes, maybe they would have drafted Ben Roethlisberger instead of Williams, but they did get good immediate production from a young receiver.
I have always felt a little sympathy for Matt Millen and tried to not jump in on the pile-up, but this first post-Millen transaction is an excellent one, as Martin Mayhew stared down the Cowboys and their desperation was a lot bigger than the Lions' risk of losing Williams for nothing.
Grade for Detroit: A