Jerry Jones all but promised to go "all-in" this offseason after the Dallas Cowboys suffered an embarrassing playoff loss in the wild card round. What Jones' version of all is remains to be seen, however. Will he finally break the bank to sign free agents outside the organization? Could he revisit the trade market after he acquired Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore last March?
The speculation is just as exciting as it is terrifying, especially when you recall a recent draft story from executive vice president Stephen Jones.
Everyone recognizes the Cowboys need to improve at linebacker and defensive tackle, but wide receiver is a sneaky need as well. You can't rule out Dallas drafting a receiver in April, but their drafting strategy will be decided by what's accomplished in March
In terms of veteran targets, Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh just gave the Joneses a potentially affordable cap casualty to pursue.
During an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, Harbaugh made no mention of standout WR Mike Williams as far as players he's had conversations with since he was hired. This does not bode well for Williams' future in LA.
Jim Harbaugh's silence on Mike Williams should have the Cowboys attention
The Chargers are $45.86 million over the salary cap, and Williams has a whopping $32.46 million cap hit in 2024. Harbaugh and Co. can save $20 million on the cap by releasing Williams with a post-June 1 designation, per Over The Cap. They'd inherit $12.46 million in dead money, but the cap savings are too substantial to pass up.
We'd expect the Chargers to try and trade Williams, but what team would willingly absorb that contract? He'll likely end up getting cut and all signs point to him signing a prove-it contract coming off an ACL tear.
There's obviously risk that would come with signing a player coming off a major surgery, but isn't that right up Jerry Jones' alley? The owner gave big-money extensions to Michael Gallup and Terence Steele months after their respective ACL surgeries. It hasn't panned out, but Williams could be had for a fraction of the price. Something like $26 million over two years could get the job done.
For what it's worth, Williams suffered his injury three games into the season. He underwent surgery in October and is expected to be ready for training camp. He should be fully recovered by the start of next season.
We don't expect the Cowboys to make a major splash at WR. Tee Higgins, Mike Evans and Michael Pittman are the cream of the free agency crop this year. Each of them will likely sign for north of $25 million per year.
After them, you're looking at Marquise Brown and Calvin Ridley. They play similar to Brandin Cooks, who's under contract. Behind them, it's Gabe Davis, Darnell Mooney, Odell Beckham Jr., and Tyler Boyd. They don't move the needle at all.
Williams, meanwhile, has two 1,000-yard seasons under his belt and his arguably the best receiver in the NFL in contested-catch situations. At 6-foot-4, he'd give Dak Prescott another red zone threat and another WR who can take the top off a defense.
This obviously all hinges on Williams clearing the necessary hurdles during his rehab. Assuming all goes well in that regard, why not? A cap casualty might be Dallas' best avenue to giving Prescott another proven playmaker, and we all know the Joneses, despite Jerry's all-in promise, love a good bargain.
The idea of Williams joining an already-prolific passing offense headlined by CeeDee Lamb, Jake Ferguson and Cooks is tempting.