It was believed that the Dallas Cowboys were going to upgrade at the No. 2 wide receiver position in this year’s deep draft class. An upgraded needed to take some of the load off Dez Bryant and give the Cowboys another threat on the other side of the field.
Instead the Cowboys stayed in house and re-signed Terrance Williams and Brice Butler to team-friendly contracts. Williams signed a four-year, $17 million contract ($9.5 million of that is guaranteed). While Butler signed a one-year, $1.1 million contract.
In honor of Terrance Williams re-signing with the Cowboys pic.twitter.com/3sShOs4eRg
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) March 10, 2017
Those two contracts were exactly what the Cowboys were looking for. Williams and Butler, both 27, are in their prime as they are about to enter their fifth year in the league. Which means the Cowboys should be getting those receivers’ best years.
Most importantly, the signings are friendly for the Cowboys tight salary cap. The new contracts combine for a $3.35 million cap hit in 2017. Williams cap hit stays under $5 million until his final year. The signings also set the Cowboys priorities in the upcoming draft.
Defense is, and always was going to be the top need in the draft. Getting a pass rusher or defensive back need to be priorities with one of their top two picks. But signing receivers in free agency gives way for the Cowboys to draft, in theory, defense with their top picks.
— SportsDay Cowboys (@dmn_cowboys) March 13, 2017
Multiple picks will have to be used at defensive back. The Cowboys lost three starters, so far, to free agency. Meanwhile the NFC East teams improved at the receiver position. The New York Giants signed Brandon Marshall to assist Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard. The Philadelphia Eagles picked up Alson Jeffery and the Washington Redskins added Tyrell Pryor.
Size is the common thread those receivers have. If the Cowboys want to continue to compete in the conference, they will have to draft multiple defensive backs.
Stephen Elliott is a NCAA football and Cowboys columnist at EndZoneScore. Reach out to him on Twitter: @WhoisStephenE.