Wide receiver Roy Williams is entering the final year of his contract next season, and there are quite a few questions about what his future with the Lions is. Mainly, most are wondering if Williams will be a Lion beyond 2008. There has been talk that he wants to leave Detroit and return back home to Texas, and also there have been some trade rumors popping up lately. I wouldn't start to think for a second that Williams won't be a Lion in 2008, but the option to trade him certainly exists.
Since Williams is going to be a free agent after 2008, the Lions have to decide what they are going to do with him. There are many options for Detroit, but to me, it all comes down to how willing Roy is to remain a Lion for 2009 and beyond. This situation could get complicated depending on what the Lions want to do and what Williams wants to do, so I'm going to lay out some possible options for both parties involved.
Assuming the Lions want Roy Williams to be a part of this team for more than one more season, they are going to have to offer him a contract extension some time before he becomes a free agent. That contract extension will have to include a nice payday, so this is where the questions start to come about. It should be noted that Kevin Jones is also entering the final year of his contract, so the Lions also will have to decide what to do with him. I would imagine that between Jones and Williams the Lions coaches would pick the running back if only one could get a contract extension, but the coaches aren't the ones that have the final decision.
Considering both Charles Rogers and Mike Williams are out of the NFL right now, I just don't see how Matt Millen could let another first-round wide receiver go. He's already facing questions about the Calvin Johnson pick, so letting Roy go would only add to the already negative image of Millen in the NFL and in the eyes of Lions fans. With that in mind, I think Detroit will try to sign Williams to a contract extension, but will Williams want to return to the Lions?
Roy has already said publicly that he wants to stay with this team in the future, but I really wouldn't put too much stock in those comments. To me he is just being politically correct considering that's all he really can say. There has been a lot of talk about how Williams wants to end up back in Texas, and becoming a free agent would allow him to do that by signing with the Cowboys or Texans. At the same time, going back home isn't the only reason why I could see Roy leaving Detroit. Considering how bad this team has been in the past and possibly could be in the future, any move that involves leaving a mediocre franchise for a great one (maybe the Cowboys) would seem likely.
Let's go ahead and consider the possibility that the Lions know Roy Williams won't want to extend his contract and will try to leave. Unless the franchise tag is placed on Williams, he will be out of Detroit, so the Lions would obviously want to get something out of his departure. That is why rumors of him being on the trading block are out there. Although the rumors haven't picked up any steam yet, they are slowly spread, and SFGate.com acknowledged that Detroit could be shopping him.
First off, there is no chance that the 49ers would trade for Williams. Aside from the fact that these are just rumors, a trade to SF wouldn't make sense. Williams would have to be signed to an extension by the team he is traded to if he was even traded, and do you really think Roy wants to be in the Mike Martz offense again? He didn't like the way he was utilized in the Martz system, so it is doubtful he would be willing to spend future seasons with Martz.
The really interesting part of that quote above is the mentioning of the rumor that the Lions are only looking for a second-round pick in return for Williams. All I can say is that if the Lions do trade Williams, I'd hope they would get more than a second-rounder out of the deal. Heck, I'd rather keep Roy for the 2008 season and see what happens from there instead of trading him for a second-round pick. Not everyone may see his value as being that high, especially since the Patriots got Randy Moss for a fourth-round pick, but knowing Matt Millen, that second-rounder would go to waste anyways.
It was Shaun Rogers trade rumors last week and now Roy Williams rumors this week, so is Kevin Jones next? That's doubtful, but it is always something to keep us busy during the offseason. My guess is that Williams is a Lion for 2008. As for 2009, the only way I see him returning is if he gets the franchise tag, so this situation definitely will be interesting to watch. To really forecast the future, I bet Roy is a Cowboy in '09. I hope he is still in Detroit, but I just don't see that happening.