The Dallas Cowboys moved on from sixth-year receiver Terrance Williams on Monday.
The Cowboys decided not to pick up the option on Williams' contract. The former 2013 third-round pick signed a four-year, $17 million deal to remain with Dallas in the 2017 offseason, but he failed to catch a touchdown pass that season despite starting 14 games and saw 2018 become his worst calendar year. Williams spent his offseason recovering from foot surgery and missed many workouts and practices.
Then, there was May 19, 2018, when Williams was arrested on public intoxication charges. After a car registered in his name was discovered by Frisco Police as having been crashed into a light pole, the police later caught up with him on the infamous scooter.
Hold that incident because it is relevant later.
When Williams was finally able to contribute in training camp, he was slated to be a part of a "receiver by committee" that consisted of acquisitions Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson, and Tavon Austin along with veteran Cole Beasley and third-round rookie Michael Gallup. A lot was riding on the receiving corps because this was the first season without wideout Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten. Who was quarterback Dak Prescott going to throw to? Would this even work?
Not really, and Williams, who may have been a great locker room presence, was hardly an on-field presence. Whether due to the foot injury, the offseason baggage, or the fact he wasn't a No. 1 receiver, Williams was a part of the problem with the passing offense, as were a lot of the personnel during the club's 3-4 start, prior to the Amari Cooper trade during the Week 8 bye. Williams caught two passes for 18 yards in the club's first three games and those would ultimately be the final catches of Williams’ career as a Cowboy.
The Cowboys were 1-1, but it felt like 0-10 for Williams, especially when there were rumors on Sept. 20 that he would be suspended for that misdemeanor public intoxication from May. His last game for the Cowboys was the Week 3 24-13 loss at Seattle. Williams wasn't even targeted. On Oct. 5, the Friday before the club played the Houston Texans, the week after Prescott led the Cowboys on a 26-24 comeback against the Detroit Lions, Dallas placed Williams on injured reserve.
Part of the decision to place Williams on injured reserve was influenced by the suspension, but most of it was due to an attempt to get him healthy, according to Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones.
"It's just with him, as we know, there's a suspension looming out there that might or might not happen," Jones told "Ben & Skin" on 105.3 "The Fan" [KRLD-FM] "He does have some things that coming off of that foot injury that, which happens when you have a foot injury. Sometimes you rush it back and you're not quite there. And then just personal in general I think are some things that are holding him back right now. So, I just think it's a work in progress with him."
The whole offense was a work in progress. Then, the suspension hit on Oct. 18, but Cowboys owner, president, and general manager Jerry Jones claimed the suspension had no impact on the team's assessment of Williams going forward.
"Nothing that we haven't already put in the hopper and considered," Jones told "G-Bag Nation" on 105.3 "The Fan" on Oct. 19. "The fact that his suspension is actually here is not a noteworthy thing as far as our plans for the future."
Gallup was what was noteworthy. The former Colorado State product caught 23 passes for 317 yards and a touchdown in his nine games after the Cooper trade. In fact, Gallup produced 36 catches on the season, the sixth-most by a Cowboys rookie. Williams was ahead of him, tied with Antonio Bryant, for third-most in franchise history by a rookie. Factor in that Williams would be 30 years old in 2019 and had a foot injury that summarily ended his sixth pro season, and it is easy to see why the Cowboys moved on.
The organizational philosophy for Dallas in the Jason Garrett era has been to move on from veterans a year early rather than a year late. If Williams has a renaissance season, it won't be with the Cowboys, and his long-term production won't outpace Gallup's. Once again, the Cowboys had to stay committed to the constant youth movement and let the past die.
Do you think the Cowboys should have brought back Terrance Williams or was it the right time to move on from the former third-rounder? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.