by Matt Bowen
May 14, 02010
Yesterday, the NFP’s Joe Fortenbaugh posted a story about Cowboys WR Roy Williams — a player who will eventually be pushed out of a job by rookie WR Dez Bryant,
The veteran receiver told Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, “This ain't my first rodeo. I got recruited [to Texas] with B.J. [Johnson] and Sloan Thomas, so those are two top-notch guys. I came in and did my thing. I was the third one on the totem pole in that deal, and I came out No. 1. I don't really see it as a competition thing. I see it as us getting better.”
Roy, like plenty of veteran players in the league right now, is faced with the idea that he will be replaced. It happens every spring with the NFL Draft, and if a rook — a first- round rook at that — is drafted at your position, it means that the front office and the coaching staff are looking for a younger, more improved version of you.
Part of this business? Of course it is, but it is also about money — and Williams makes plenty of it. In 2008, after he was traded to Dallas from Detroit, Williams signed a five-year deal worth a total of $45 million. Big money for the marginal production we have seen during his time with that star on his helmet.
Where does that leave a veteran like Williams? Well, there is only one thing that can keep him in Dallas for much longer and that is production. No matter what the WR talks about this offseason and no matter how hard he works, he needs to show Cowboys management that he can make enough plays on Sundays — and that includes showing his quarterback, Tony Romo, that he will go up and get the football for him in crucial situations.
We know the rookie, Bryant, has talent. But, don’t be too quick to throw him into the mix. He still has plenty to learn when it comes to the pro game, and of all the positions in the NFL — outside of QB — the WR position may be the toughest for rookies. They are no longer the best athletes on the field, as they were when matched up against marginal competition in college. Instead, they will see more press-man, more complex coverages and more overall responsibility in game preparation and expected production on Sundays.
This gives Williams some time, while the rookie struggles in August (which he will), to show us something — anything.
However, looking at the future of Williams in Dallas, where he is already low on the priority list behind WR Miles Austin, TE Jason Witten and the running game, it isn’t hard to see that his time is running out.
A big paycheck can do that and drafting Bryant to eventually take his job will only speed up the process for Roy.
A make or break season? It could be a make or break training camp for Williams.
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