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Draft King Analysis

October 14, 2008
Lou Pickney,

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Give credit to the Detroit Lions: mere hours before today's 4 p.m. ET trade deadline, they unloaded disgruntled wide receiver in Roy Williams (who was slated for unrestricted free agency after the year) along with a 2009 seventh round pick to the Cowboys for Dallas' 2009 first, third, and sixth round picks. At the same time, Dallas has a deal in principle set with Williams to extend his contract for five years, giving him in excess of $20 million guaranteed and $45 million overall. Jerry Jones may roll the dice sometimes, but he wasn't going to give up that kind of compensation without locking down Williams.

Roy Williams
WR Roy Williams is bound for Dallas. (Icon SMI)
For the Lions, the deal was a very wise one to make. Williams had every intention of leaving Detroit as an unrestricted free agent after this season. So instead of losing Williams and receiving nothing, or using the franchise tag and making a bad situation worse, the Lions unloaded Williams and landed three picks in the next draft. Moreover, the move will allow second year WR Calvin Johnson to move into the primary wide receiver role for Detroit.

The Lions aren't going to the playoffs this year (barring a turnaround of epic proportions), and instead of being hard-headed and sitting on Williams and ultimately obtaining nothing for him, Detroit put itself in a position to begin turning things around.

So why did Dallas give up the sizable ransom to land Williams? Simple: Jerry Jones *really* wanted to add Williams to the Cowboys, and this has been no secret for some time now. Williams looms as a probable replacement for Terrell Owens beyond 2008. Owens turns 35 in December, and with a $3.1 million roster bonus looming for 2009, it's entirely possible that Owens won't be with the team next year. Yes, Owens is under contract with Dallas through 2011, but with so much non-guaranteed money on the line, Owens could find himself traded (unlikely) or cut.

It's a shame that the NFL changed the rules about not including the first initial of a player on his jersey when he and a teammate share a last name, as it would have been quite amusing to see how the Cowboys would have handled having two men named Roy Williams on their roster.

I presume that the change was due to jersey manufacturers wanting to avoid having non-matching jerseys on sale (e.g. if Tom Brady had begun wearing a "T. Brady" jersey when New England signed Kyle Brady in 2007, that would have rendered the already-printed "Brady" jerseys obsolete). Look at what Chad Ocho Cinco has had to go through with a jersey that still doesn't reflect his current legal name.

For the point of clarification, the Cowboys receiver is Roy Eugene Williams, Jr. and the hard-hitting Cowboys safety is Roy Lee Williams. But they'll both have jerseys that simply read "Williams", so that problem is solved, though I can only imagine the confusion having two players with the same name on the same team will cause.

One other trade that happened rather quietly today was Indianapolis acquiring underachieving DT John McCargo from Buffalo for a fourth round draft pick. It's rare that two competitive teams in the same conference would execute a mid-season trade, but McCargo (a 2006 first round pick) was struggling in Buffalo and Indy desperately needed to land a quality defensive tackle. I'm not sure if this is on the same level as the Colts trade with Tampa Bay for Anthony McFarland in 2006, but it was a move that Indianapolis needed with the abrupt off-season retirement of DT Quinn Pitcock and the arrest (and subsequent release) of DT Ed Johnson.

Coming tomorrow: an overdue updated Mock Draft that reflects the trade deadline moves that took place today and another Draft King mailbag.


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