Williams failed to catch his lone target in Saturday's preseason loss to the Rams.
After sitting out the Hall of Fame Game, Williams played into the second quarter of Saturday's contest as the Cowboys went three-and-out on their first three drives. He's locked in as the starting outside receiver opposite Dez Bryant, but slot man Cole Beasley actually led the team in targets, catches and receiving yards last season. Beasley drew 98 targets on 601 snaps, whereas Williams had just 61 despite logging 746 snaps. The Cowboys still re-signed Williams on a four-year, $17 million contract this offseason, apparently valuing him as an occasional big-play threat and solid run blocker.
After reeling off at least 16 YPC and 600 yards in each of his first three seasons, Williams fell off the pace with Dak Prescott under center, finishing with 13.5 YPC and 594 yards in 2016. In the latter realm, Cole Beasley, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten surpassed him, but each of the trio received 95-to-98 targets, while Williams settled for 61. The Cowboys will trot out the same receiving corps in 2017, so an uptick in volume cannot be expected. On a positive note, Williams hasn't missed a game in his career, which cannot be said for Bryant (10 DNPs over the last two campaigns).
The targets and yards were career lows for Williams, as was his 13.5 yards per catch. He'll head into free agency without much buzz as a result, which could keep his price tag low enough that the
Williams was one of the few starters who played the majority of the game, and he produced the team's only touchdown when he connected with Tony Romo on a three-yard play in the second quarter. He will finish the regular season with four touchdowns to his name, and he should continue to serve as one of the team's complementary offensive options as the postseason begins.
Williams does not have an injury designation ahead of Sunday's game against the Eagles after fully practicing Friday.
Williams was absent from Thursday's session while attending to a personal matter, but he returned in a full capacity Friday to remove any concern over his Week 17 status. Although Williams will play Sunday, his involvement could be limited by the fact the Cowboys have already clinched the NFC's top seed. If that results in a somewhat-shortened workday for Williams, Brice Butler could see more snaps at an outside receiver position.
|P4||8/31/17||@ HOU||8:00 pm|
|2||9/17/17||@ DEN||4:25 pm|
|3||9/25/17||@ ARI||8:30 pm|
|Bye: Week 6|
|7||10/22/17||@ SF||4:05 pm|
|8||10/29/17||@ WAS||4:25 pm|
|10||11/12/17||@ ATL||4:25 pm|
|14||12/10/17||@ NYG||4:25 pm|
|15||12/17/17||@ OAK||8:30 pm|
|17||12/31/17||@ PHI||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|