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Jerry Jones pleased with WR Roy Williams' progress

07:02 PM CDT on Thursday, April 23, 2009

By CALVIN WATKINS / The Dallas Morning News
cwatkins@dallasnews.com

ARLINGTON – Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he is excited about wide receiver Roy Williams' progress.

Williams has been working out four days a week at Valley Ranch and is developing a strong chemistry with quarterback Tony Romo.

"Triple A-pluses," Jones said of Williams. "First of all, he's the first one here. And secondly, he's lighting them up. He doesn't have any nicks.

"He's out there working with [wide receivers coach] Ray Sherman, and those guys are elated. I'm not exaggerating. They are elated at the work he is getting in and what he is doing and his focus and his work habits and everything that he is doing."

After being acquired for three draft picks just before the trade deadline last season, Williams caught 19 passes for 198 yards with one touchdown in 10 games. A sprained foot affected the way he ran routes in the last month of the season.

Overall, Williams had career-lows of 36 catches for 430 yards and two touchdowns.

"The verdict is really still out, but I would absolutely do that trade again," Jones said.

Jones emphasized the next couple of seasons would determine whether the trade was a success.

Cowboys sign three players: Wide receiver Miles Austin on Thursday signed a one-year tender worth $1.54 million.

Running back Alonzo Coleman and tight end Rodney Hannah, who were exclusive rights free agents, also signed one-year deals. Coleman's deal is worth $385,000, and Hannah's is worth $310,000.

Austin is expected to compete with Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd for the starting position opposite Williams.

Executive vice president Stephen Jones said he thinks the competition for the spot will be strong, with each receiver possessing different skills.

"Patrick, obviously, has got more experience, very dependable hands and is very steady," Jones said. "Miles has tremendous speed and size ... if he continues to do what he's been doing, obviously, it will be a great competition at camp. And I wouldn't rule Sam out either."

Ware talks will pick up soon: Stephen Jones said there is no deadline to extend outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware's contract, but stressed it is a priority. Ware is entering the last year of his contract, and if he doesn't get an extension, he will become a restricted free agent for the next two seasons.

The Cowboys halted talks with Ware's agent, Pat Dye, in the last few weeks to focus on free agency and the draft.

"You hope there is an end result," Dye said. "We've all been preoccupied by free agency and the draft. But when we've talked, we've had a good open dialogue."

Ware is looking to become one of the highest-paid defensive players in league history.

Albert Haynesworth set the standard when he signed a seven-year contract with the Redskins that could be worth as much as $115 million if certain incentives are met. Haynesworth received $41 million in guaranteed money.

Both sides expect talks to pick up this summer.

Kitna wowing the team: New backup quarterback Jon Kitna has impressed Jerry Jones in off-season workouts.

"Kitna is more than we thought," Jones said. "You would say, 'Aren't you supposed to think more?' Well, we certainly thought a lot of him when we went and got him."

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