FRISCO, Texas – One day after they lost three starters to free agency, the Cowboys retained one in a surprise deal Friday evening.
The Cowboys agreed to terms on a four-year deal with wide receiver Terrance Williams on the second day of free agency. The contract is reportedly worth $17 million with $9.5 million guaranteed. Combined with the club's re-signing of Brice Butler on Wednesday, it returns the Cowboys' entire receiver corps intact from last season.
It had long been speculated that Williams' future might lie elsewhere, given the amount of money available to No. 2 receivers on the open market in recent years. But an average salary of $4 million per year is a small price to pay for an established wide out who has been a Cowboys starter since his rookie season, back in 2013.
The deal will ensure Williams continues to ply his trade in his home state. A Dallas native, Williams has played his entire football career in Texas, as he was drafted No. 74 overall out of Baylor by the Cowboys four years ago. He burst onto the scene in Week 5 of his rookie season with four catches for 151 yards and a touchdown in a 51-48 loss to the Denver Broncos.
In the time since, he has been a mainstay in the Dallas offense. In 2014, Williams caught 41 passes for 751 yards and a whopping 11 touchdowns during the Cowboys' run to the divisional round of the playoffs.
For his four-year career, he has 185 total catches for 2,989 yards and 23 touchdowns in 67 games.
Admittedly, Williams has flashed inconsistencies during his time in Dallas – whether it's with drops or disappearing acts over the course of the years.
But he has also repeatedly shown his penchant for big plays – whether it was his miraculous third-down conversion against Seattle in 2014, or his three touchdowns in the playoffs that year. He also came up with four catches for 68 yards in the 2016 playoff loss to Green Bay – marking one of his best efforts of last season.
Perhaps most importantly for the Cowboys is that Williams' return brings some impressive continuity to the Dallas offense for 2017. Ron Leary departed for Denver on Thursday afternoon, but all 10 of the Cowboys' other offensive starters are expected back for next season.
Williams will re-join the Cowboys' cast of Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Butler and Lucky Whitehead for what should be a third-consecutive season.
That's a rare feat in the ever-changing world of NFL personnel, and it should only benefit Dak Prescott in his second year.