The "Other" Move in Big D

March 6, 2009

Yesterday, on the same day that the Cowboys released Terrell Owens, they also released safety and former first round pick Roy Williams.

Williams made several Pro Bowls during his years in Dallas, earning a well-deserved reputation as a fierce, hard-hitting tackler. When put in the box, Williams excelled as both a pass rusher and a run stuffer.

Recently, Williams' promising career had encountered some struggles, as he sat out most of 2008 with a broken arm.

However, the Cowboys' true concern with Williams involved his game, more so than his health. Specifically, the franchise became dissatisfied with Williams' difficulties in pass coverage.

Over the years, Williams failed to improve his mediocre coverage skills, as he was burned in multiple situations. When forced to cover tight ends one-on-one, Williams was routinely beaten. When playing in Cover 2 schemes or otherwise providing safety help over the top, Williams inexcusably was beaten deep. Quite simply, those breakdowns constituted a safety's ultimate sin -- the failure to get as deep as the deepest man on the field.

Prior to last season, the proud former Pro Bowler indeed admitted that his confidence in his pass coverage ability had wavered somewhat.

Although Williams was somewhat one-dimensional, his release now leaves Dallas with holes in its secondary. One possible replacement, corner Anthony Henry, was traded earlier this week to Detroit. Furthermore, because Dallas has no first or third round pick this year, finding a replacement via the draft could prove difficult. Hence, Dallas will be forced to comb through a thin free agent market, or perhaps use its second round pick on a safety.

The move also made little financial sense, as Dallas will take a hit on its salary cap. When factoring in Jerry Jones' decision to waive T.O., that total cap hit will run close to $20 million.

Williams is only 28, and presumably, will be entering his prime. Since the Cowboys apparently do not have a ready replacement, perhaps they should have retained Williams' services. At least that way he could have had some utility as a situational impact player in the box. Who knows, he might have eventually regained some of that lost confidence.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for

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