This week’s release of Roy Williams signals a dubious ending to what could possibly be seen as the worst trade in Dallas Cowboy’s history. Unfortunately for Cowboy fans, this incident doesn’t mark the first time the team has made a major sacrifice for what turned out to be a mediocre Wide Receiver.
Looking for a player to replace the Hall of Fame bound Michael Irvin, the Cowboys traded their 2000 and 2001 first round picks to the Seattle Seahawks for speedster Joey Galloway. In a turn of cruel foreshadowing, the former Buckeye Wide Receiver torn his ACL in his very first game as a Cowboy. Therefore, Galloway was out for the entire season due to the injury. In his four years with Dallas, Galloway never had more than 61 receptions and 6 touchdowns in a season. In 2003, he was traded to the Tampa Buccaneers for Wide Receiver Keyshawn Johnson.
But to feel the full impact of this disastrous trade on the franchise, you have to look back at the draft ramifications. The Seattle Seahawks used the Cowboy’s first round draft pick in 2000 to select Running Back Shaun Alexander. The Alabama alumni would eventually win the MVP award in 2005 and also lead his team to a bid in controversial Superbowl XL. He certainly would have made a nice addition to a Cowboy’s roster looking to replace an aging Emmitt Smith in the downward spiral of his career.
Now, prior to the 2001 draft, we must consider the injury forced retirement of Troy Aikman. Dallas was in the market for a new quarterback, but didn’t have a first round pick to use on one. This meant they missed out on two big names that could have changed the face of the franchise for the past decade. Virginia Tech phenom and future animal rights advocate, Michael Vick was the clear cut number one pick. He is an unlikely choice for Dallas since it’s traded first round pick was at number nine. But at the very least, a play could have been made for the eventual 2010 Comeback Player of the Year.
A more likely dream scenario for the Cowboy’s in the 2001 draft would have been a trade down to select Texas native Drew Brees, who was selected by the San Diego Chargers as the first pick of the second round. The Purdue alum went on to lead the New Orleans Saints to their only Superbowl appearance and win in 2009.
Instead, the Cowboys selected Quincy Carter with the 55th pick in the second round of the 2001 draft to become Aikman’s heir apparent. After two straight 5-11 seasons, Carter lead the Boys to a 10-6 record and a playoff appearance in his third year. He subsequently was then released in August of 2004 after an alleged failed drug test.
Unlike the Galloway trade, Roy Williams departure leaves the team in a much better overall situation. With potential superstar Dez Bryant, Pro Bowler’s Jason Witten and Miles Austin, and up and coming Kevin Olgetree to throw to, Quarterback Tony Romo still has quite the receiving core. But we can only imagine what the team would have been like had the Williams’ trade not gone through.
During the mid-season of 2008, the Dallas Cowboys traded the Detroit Lions their first, third and sixth round picks in 2009, plus a seventh-round pick in 2010 for the former Longhorn standout. Dallas immediately agreed to a five-year extension with Williams worth $45 million. For all that, Roy Williams gave Dallas 40 games with only 94 receptions and 13 touchdowns. He should have wore a ski mask to the contract signing.
With Dallas’ first round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Lion’s selected Tight End Brandon Pettigrew. Now, Dallas didn’t have a need for a Tight End at the time, but there were some really big names drafted right after #20 that could have significantly helped the franchise. Imagine filling our gaps in the defensive backfield with names like Vontae Davis, Louis Delmas or Patrick Chung. Or how about we bolster our Wide Receiver group a bit with names like Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, or Percy Harvin. Or do you want to replace an aging Linebacker corps instead? How about names like Clay Matthews, James Laurinaitis, or Ray Maualuga. The point is, Dallas gave up any chance at these players and much, much more all for an under performing Roy Williams. Subsequently, the 2009 NFL Draft is already considered to be a bust for the Cowboys. Most of the draftees from that year are no longer on the team.
So which trade is worse? Roy Williams or Joey Galloway? In the end, it doesn’t make a difference. No matter how much we speculate or play the “what if” game, the ending result is always the same. As True Blue Cowboy fans, we all lose. Now some would argue that a farm animal, such as a chicken, could probably make better trade choices. Therefore, if the decision making method that was used to trade for these two particular players is literally letting a chicken pluck around until it picks a random name out of a jar…then I say it’s time for a new chicken. How about you?