Dallas Cowboys reinsertion of Connor Williams earned them a draft pick

Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports
Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports /

Connor Williams is back in the starting lineup. The Connor McGovern experiment, that never should have happened in the first place, is now officially over. Williams’ reunion tour with the starters  essentially sealed the deal.

No shade to McGovern, who we’ve known for years is a better right guard than he is left guard, but McGovern is nowhere near the left guard that Williams is. Williams reminded us of this on Sunday by being the only Dallas Cowboys linemen to NOT give up a single pressure. His execution as a run-blocker was an improvement over McGovern as well, making second level blocks with ease and efficiency.

Connor Williams isn’t just the better lineman, but he potentially just got the Dallas Cowboys a compensatory pick in 2023.

The move back to the starting lineup is noteworthy for two big reasons:

  1. He’s by far the best left guard option on the Dallas Cowboys.
  2. If he leaves in free agency he’s going to give Dallas a high compensatory pick.

The first one is fairly obvious. As a long-time supporter of Williams I never understood why he was benched in the first place. Yes, the penalties were getting ridiculous but not as ridiculous as replacing the better man for multiple weeks.

Connor McGovern is a great gadget-lineman (does such a thing exist?) who can play a TE role, a FB role, and RG role with precision. But he’s not in the same league as Connor Williams at LG. The move back needed to happen for multiple reasons – the least of which is Williams was the best man for the job.

The second reason this was so noteworthy is because Connor Williams is set to be a free agent in 2022. If he leaves Dallas (and Dallas stays true to form in free agent spending) he will fetch quite a hefty return in the form of a compensatory pick.

Depending how much he signs for in free agency, he should return a fourth or even third round pick if he leaves Dallas (comp values are determined by size of contract).  The Dallas Cowboys basically knee-capped his value by benching him mid-season. Who’s interested in signing someone’s back-up to a big free agent deal, after all?

But the return to the lineup and his subsequent high level of play have boosted his value back up into high-level comp pick territory (3rd-4th round). So by simply playing their best player again, Dallas sets the stage to receive a comp pick in 2023.

Connor Williams’ eventual departure is by no means set in stone. Dallas could very easily re-sign the 24-year-old veteran and depending on the price, they absolutely should. But as I speculated all offseason, the price is likely too high for a team already heavily invested in the offensive side of the ball. It’s time for the Dallas Cowboys to start pushing money into the defense and that means letting good players like Connor Williams walk.

It’s not often a move like this offers so many immediate returns but Williams’ return to the lineup gives the Dallas Cowboys immediate results plus some long-term value in the way of a compensatory pick.

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