Terrance Williams had stronger offers when he hit the free agent market for the first time earlier this offseason, but he opted to stay with the Dallas Cowboys.
Williams signed a four-year, $17 million contract with $9.5 million guaranteed early on in free agency, and has no regrets about his decision a couple months after.
Williams, a Dallas native who played at Baylor, remains a known quantity on the team and within the community. That’s part of the reason he was chosen as the headliner for the grand opening of Bowlero in Euless on Saturday afternoon.
“It just wasn’t about money to me,” Williams said of his free agency. “There was a lot of money I could have taken, but it’s just the people. The guys I hang around with in my locker room and then the coaches that I have. That’s a bigger price tag on it for me than money.”
Williams, who joined the Cowboys as a third-round pick in 2013, felt loyal to owner Jerry Jones and his fellow teammates. He specifically mentioned top receiver Dez Bryant as a reason he returned for lesser money.
Williams is also familiar with the offense, serving as the No. 2 receiver. He had 44 catches for 594 yards and four touchdowns last season. His best year came in 2015 when he sets career highs in receptions (52) and yards (840).
“I feel like Mr. Jones took a chance on me and I feel like I got to return the favor to him,” Williams said. “The same with Dez and the rest of my teammates. When you’ve been around certain people for so long, going somewhere else just wouldn’t feel the same if you’re being successful.
“So to go to a different state and come back home when I see my bros, it just wouldn’t feel the same. I just feel like I owed them the respect that they gave me. I know a lot of people [Cowboys fans] didn’t like it, that’s part of the reason too I came back. Everybody thought I was fixing to go off and take something else and most people were mad too so that’s why I like it.”
Williams smiled when thinking about his critics who felt the Cowboys would have been better off had he bolted elsewhere.
“There’s a lot of stuff that I go through that people don’t know about,” Williams said. “It’s just one of those things you can let it get to you, or you can make it a fun game. That’s what I do [make it a fun game]. When you think you know me well, you really don’t. That’s the biggest joy that I get now.”
Williams wouldn’t talk about how much money he left on the table or what teams showed interest, saying: “There was more out there, but I’m not about to get into that. I’m here so that’s the only thing that matters.”
Williams is now focused on next season and helping the Cowboys go on a deeper playoff run. He praised quarterback Dak Prescott going into his second season, as well as the addition of Ryan Switzer to the wide receiver corps.
Williams has high expectations for the team, although doesn’t have specific individual goals for himself.
“The conversations we had is they’re going to use me a lot more than they have in the past,” Williams said. “So it’s my job to be ready and my job to keep us going whenever stuff slows down a little bit. I’ve got to be the spark maker. I’ve got to keep it up. That’s my goal.
“Whenever it gets dull or we do go through a little dry spell, it’s my job to spark us back up and get us back going.”
As far as his bowling game at Bowlero, Williams said it was “all right.” He bowled a 109, but didn’t have any strikes. He admitted that fellow receiver Lucky Whitehead, who joined him, had more bowling experience.
“I feel I did pretty good because it was my first time bowling in a couple weeks,” Williams said. “But it’s great to be out here and it’s an honor they chose me to be at the grand opening. A lot of people showed up and it’s nice seeing smiles on all these kids’ faces.”