Want to Sign T.O.? The Pros and Cons
Terrell Owens is about to be looking for work again after the Dallas Cowboys reportedly decided Wednesday night to release him.
It's nothing new for Owens. He was traded by the San Francisco 49ers following the 2003 season and released by the Philadelphia Eagles after they first suspended and then deactivated him at the end of the 2005 season.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones provided Owens with a landing spot in Dallas the last time around. Which team will take a chance on Owens's unique mix of skill and volatility this time?
It's not immediately clear. The Eagles need a receiver, but a reunion with quarterback Donovan McNabb and Coach Andy Reid seems unlikely. The Minnesota Vikings just tried but failed to land free agent wideout T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who signed with the Seattle Seahawks instead. But their coach is former Eagles offensive coordinator Brad Childress, who clashed with Owens in Philadelphia. It seems farfetched to think that Bill Parcells would take Owens in Miami or Todd Haley, formerly Parcells's passing game coordinator in Dallas during Parcells's uncomfortable pairing with Owens and now the Chiefs' head coach, would take him in Kansas City.
The Baltimore Ravens attempted to get Owens once. Would they try again? The Denver Broncos thought about adding Owens the last time he was available. The New York Giants might need to replace Plaxico Burress. What about Chicago? What about the St. Louis Rams if they trade or release Torry Holt? Perhaps the Arizona Cardinals if they can't work things out with Anquan Boldin? Tampa? How about the Indianapolis Colts after they just released Marvin Harrison? It sounds improbable but remember: Who would have thought that Randy Moss would end up in New England and thrive there?
For now, here's a quick look at the pros and cons of signing Owens:
1. He's still productive.
Say what you want about the guy's other issues, but he puts up numbers. He had 69 catches for 1,052 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Cowboys this past season. That's a down year for Owens. It's a career year for some receivers. In three seasons with the Cowboys, he totaled 235 catches for 3,587 yards and 38 touchdowns. He's topped 1,000 receiving yards in eight of the last nine seasons, and the only time he didn't was in 2005 for the Eagles when he played in only seven games. Clearly, he can play.
2. He can make a good team better.
Yes, the Eagles got rid of Owens after his disruptive behavior played a central role in sinking their 2005 season. But that came after the Eagles, with Owens, reached the Super Bowl in the 2004 season. That was a very good Eagles team that lapped the field in the NFC. Those Eagles were minus Owens, who was hurt, throughout the NFC playoffs. But having Owens had given the Eagles a swagger that they hadn't possessed without him. Having Owens transformed that Eagles club from good to superb. Have you seen the Eagles, under Reid and McNabb, in a Super Bowl without Owens? No.
3. He wasn't THAT bad in Dallas, was he?
He's difficult. He's a diva. He wants the ball all the time. Even when he gets the ball thrown his way a lot, he still complains. But does that make him all that different from other headliner wide receivers in the NFL? At least he backs it up with almost-ceaseless production.
1. His age.
He's 35. He'll turn 36 before next season ends. His best days as a player perhaps are behind him, and at some point the production will drop to the point that the headaches he causes won't even begin to be worth it.
2. His diva act.
The 49ers had enough and traded him. The Eagles had enough and sent him home, then cut him. The Cowboys apparently have had enough. Owens didn't get along with Jeff Garcia. He didn't get along with McNabb. He went from tearfully defending Tony Romo in Dallas to, reportedly, accusing him of being too chummy with tight end Jason Witten to the exclusion of throwing the ball to Owens. It's beginning to appear there's simply no team--and no quarterback--with which this guy can make things work.
3. His drops.
He catches a lot of passes. But he drops a lot of passes, too. Part of the reason that his receiving numbers are so good is that he demands to have so many passes thrown his way, and he doesn't catch all of them. He often is among the league leaders in dropped passes, making him something like an NBA player who scores 25 points a night but needs to take far too many shots to do it. At some point, it's simply not worth it to have him around.
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