SAN ANTONIO - By releasing Roy Williams on Thursday, the Cowboys finally admitted what most everyone else already knew at least a year or two earlier.
Trading for Williams was a mistake.
The Cowboys sent Detroit two draft picks, a first-rounder and a third, for the receiver midway through the 2008 season and immediately handed him a five year, $45 million contract extension. With Williams officially out of the fold, the team can finally address what went wrong and why they ever believed Williams would have been a good addition.
"I would love to have that trade back," Jerry Jones said on Saturday. "But I know what a prospect he was leaving Texas, and I know that he had some phenomenal production in Detroit. He did have some."
Jones said he believes Williams was a poor fit for Jason Garrett's offensive system, that the receiver would have functioned better in more timing-oriented scheme.
On Friday, Garrett said Williams failed statistically with the Cowboys because of the fact there's only one football to go around. Between Jason Witten and the emergence of Miles Austin, he was squeezed out. Jones said the Cowboys weren't banking on Austin becoming a star when they acquired Williams, and didn't know they would be drafting Dez Bryant in 2010.
Jones said he was willing to part with the third-round pick for Williams because he thought the receiver could bolster the team's chances in the middle of the 2008 season. But Williams caught just 19 passes as a Cowboy that year, and only 38 in '09 and 37 last year.
Releasing Williams costs the Cowboys more than $4 million against this year's salary cap, and some $9 million next year.
"We thought he might be able to come in and really help us when Romo was hurt (in 2009)," Jones said. "We thought Romo, when he got back, that it might really work for us, that we had a chance to make a run at it.
"I'm giving you 'why?' - and that's what we saw."