ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – You can beat, batter and bruise the Dallas Cowboys, but you can't discourage owner Jerry Jones from doing whatever it takes to be good.
On the heels of losing quarterback Tony Romo (broken right pinkie) and Adam Jones (league-mandated suspension), Jerry Jones pulled off a rare big-name, trade-deadline deal Tuesday when he acquired Detroit wide receiver Roy Williams.
"That makes them a much more dangerous team and they were already a great one," said Giants owner John Mara, a day after his defending Super Bowl champions were run over in Cleveland. "He's a great player and he makes them much tougher to defend. They gave up a lot for him, but he makes them better."
Williams, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft, gives the already potent Dallas offense another significant weapon for now and the foreseeable future. As part of the trade in which Dallas sent a first-, third- and sixth-round pick in 2009 to Detroit (Dallas gets a '09 seventh-rounder in return), Williams agreed to an additional five years on his contract, keeping him with the team through 2013.
Williams' lone TD grab this year came against Atlanta in the opener.
(AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Jones and agent Ben Dogra, who represents Williams, said the details of the contract haven't been worked out, but that's really a secondary issue for the Cowboys. Dallas is about now and Williams gives it a weapon that could make the offense unstoppable even during the month in which Romo is expected to be out and replaced by veteran Brad Johnson.
"I'm sure that when other defensive coordinators heard that Romo was out, they thought, 'Oh, we can just blitz and dare Johnson to beat us deep,' " an assistant coach from another team said. "Now, you can't do that because you're going to have to respect both sides of the formation."
That's because Williams, who had 1,310 yards receiving in 2006 and averaged 61 receptions a year in his four seasons, is talented enough to demand double coverage. With Terrell Owens on the other side and Jason Witten at tight end – along with Marion Barber in the backfield – opposing defenses are going to have to make choices on who to cover.
"They weren't easy to defend before this," another assistant coach said. "Personally, I thought (Patrick) Crayton and the other kid (Miles Austin) were pretty good. But Williams is in a different league than those guys. With (Crayton and Austin), you'd take your chances. With Williams, he's going to hurt you. I shouldn't say this, but this group could be a better offense than when they had (Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith).
"Yeah, you could say it's overkill and there won't be enough passes to go around, but good luck defending them. There's going to be somebody running free all the time."
Jones seemed more relieved than excited about getting Williams, but that's because this has clearly been a rough past week. Starting on Oct. 8 when Adam "Pacman" Jones was involved in an altercation with a team-hired bodyguard, for which Jones was suspended indefinitely by the league Tuesday, the Cowboys have been bombarded by bad news – mostly injuries. Cornerback Terence Newman underwent groin surgery last Friday. Newman is expected to be out until at least mid-November and Pacman Jones was supposed to be his insurance policy.
In addition, rookie running back Felix Jones, punter Mat McBriar, wide receiver Sam Hurd and outside linebacker Anthony Spencer are all out for either several games or the rest of the season with injuries.
"This is good news, finally," Jerry Jones said while at the NFL owners meetings. "This gives us another threat on the other side of Terrell (Owens). That's something that (offensive coordinator) Jason Garrett and I talked about during the offseason, getting another big-time threat on the other side to go with (Owens) and Jason Witten."
Williams, a Texas native who would have been an unrestricted free agent at season's end, was unlikely to be kept unless the team put the franchise tag on him.
"We've been talking to the Lions for two years about Roy, who is very familiar to us being from Texas," Jones said. "I talked to them again just before the draft and at the most recent owners meetings and we finally were able to get something done."
As for concerns about how Williams will coexist with the emotional Owens, Jones smiled.
"I called Terrell and he was ecstatic. He was the first person I called after I talked to Roy. As soon as Terrell heard he said, 'Give me Roy's number, I have to call him,'" Jones said.