No Romo, Two Roys
The Cowboys had a rough 48 hours, falling to the Cardinals on a blocked punt in overtime Sunday afternoon, learning Monday that Tony Romo will likely miss one month with a fractured pinkie finger on his right hand, and losing Pacman Jones to an indefinite suspension Tuesday. No doubt woozy from that series of events, Dallas decided that the best course of action was to trade for Roy Williams.
No, not the overrated safety who's out with a broken forearm. That Roy Williams was already on the Cowboys' roster. Dallas acquired his namesake from Detroit, giving up first-, third-, and sixth-round picks for the impending free agent whose outspokenness has outweighed his production recently and reportedly getting to work on a big-money contract extension that would lock him up through 2013.
When healthy and happy Williams is an excellent receiver, but between the draft picks and money that's an awfully big price to pay for a guy who'll be the passing game's third option behind Terrell Owens and Jason Witten. Dallas' offense will be scary once Romo returns, but that was never the Cowboys' problem to begin with given that they've put up at least 24 points in every game this season.
Going from Dan Orlovsky to Romo is just about as big an upgrade as there is for a receiver, but Williams will first have to learn a new system with Brad Johnson at the helm and will have a tough time regularly getting double-digit targets like he did in Detroit. Dallas has thrown 165 passes to receivers and tight ends, and 61.2 percent of them have gone to Owens and Witten.
Patrick Crayton averaged 5.2 targets per game while serving as the team's No. 2 wideout prior to Williams' arrival, whereas Williams averaged 7.2 looks in Detroit. He's still a solid enough WR2 option, but expect modest numbers with Johnson getting him the ball and don't be surprised if his week-to-week value varies wildly even after Romo returns.
While Roy and T.O. kill time waiting for Romo to get healthy by trying to out-diva each other, here are some other notes from around football .
* As for the Lions, they did plenty well to cash in Williams before he left as a free agent and his exit clears the way for Calvin Johnson to emerge as the clear focal point offensively after previously sharing the spotlight. Of course, he quietly was targeted more often (45) than Williams (39) through five games, so Johnson was making his move even before the trade.
Johnson's value is somewhat limited by Orlovsky taking over as the Lions' starter after Jon Kitna was placed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday. However, becoming one of the league's most-targeted receivers should make up for shaky quarterbacking and Johnson looked plenty capable of racking up strong numbers during Orlovsky's first career start. He's now a much better bet than Williams.
* First-year Redskins coach Jim Zorn was on the Seahawks' staff during Shaun Alexander's prime, so it's not surprising that he's willing to give the former MVP a chance as Clinton Portis' backup while Ladell Betts is sidelined by a knee injury. Alexander apparently showed enough during a Tuesday tryout to get a one-year contract and will back up Portis for at least the next 2-3 weeks.
While signing Alexander off the street is an interesting move and his name is still big enough to intrigue some fantasy owners, there's little chance of him making a fantasy impact unless Portis goes down with an injury of his own. No back gets a heavier workload than Portis and there's no need to sub for him near the goal line, likely leaving Alexander with just a handful of touches per game.
Two-Minute Drill: Oakland was reportedly close to sending Michael Bush to San Diego before the trade fell apart Tuesday afternoon . Despite the future Hall of Famer's request for a deal, the Chiefs didn't find a taker for Tony Gonzalez prior to Tuesday's trade deadline . Coach Tom Cable admitted Monday that he likely asked too much of JaMarcus Russell in Week 6, suggesting that he won't throw 35-plus passes for a third straight game . Matt Cassel got a vote of confidence Monday when coach Bill Belichick said: "Matt is our starting quarterback and he gives our team the best chance to win" . Along with noting earlier this week that the Bengals "need to take a hard look" at their shaky backfield situation, coach Marvin Lewis offered praise Monday for Kenny Watson . Living up to his title as the worst free-agent deal ever, Javon Walker has five grabs through five games and may already be in danger of losing his starting job . A seemingly promising third-round pick out of Penn State last year, Tony Hunt was released Tuesday so the Eagles could sign a special-teams linebacker.
Red Zone: Coach Tony Dungy admitted Monday that Peyton Manning underwent a second knee surgery this offseason, which could explain his slow start prior to Sunday's dismantling of the Ravens . Eli Manning said Tuesday that the chest injury he sustained Monday night won't keep him from suiting up this week after both an MRI exam and X-rays revealed no major damage . Chris Chambers is expected to play this week after sitting out Sunday night's game with a sprained ankle while the Chargers' air attack thrived without him . Brett Favre reportedly called Tony Romo and advised him to play through the fractured finger that's due to sideline him for a month . Coach Jack Del Rio said Monday that Jerry Porter "is just not a major part of our plans right now" after lingering hamstring issues, which is bad news for the fantasy teams waiting for the big-money free agent to make an impact . New Orleans' decision to cut Terrance Copper loose Tuesday may signal that Marques Colston (thumb) is set to return . Baltimore's running game took a big hit Tuesday when right guard Marshal Yanda (knee) landed on season-ending injured reserve.