The League

Anthony Stalter
National Blogger

Anthony Stalter

Senior Sports Editor for The Scores Report

Playmaker no more

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Outside of figuring out how Brian Hartline's pickup truck magically ran itself off the road and straight into a parked car earlier this month, the biggest unsolved mystery remaining in the NFL this offseason is why Terrell Owens remains jobless.

There are multiple theories on the subject, including how T.O. has set his price tag too high. But he recently set the record straight by denying that claim and assuming he still enjoys the game (and he has given every indication that he does), he'll probably play on another one-year deal if teams came calling.

Another theory is that he's too big of a distraction and would ruin a team's chemistry if he were signed. But let's keep in mind that he's never gotten into any real trouble. He may be a pain in the butt, but if Pacman Jones and Matt Jones found jobs this offseason, then T.O. should be able to as well.

I think the true answer lies in Owens' play last season. In 16 regular season contests, I can count on one hand how many times he was actually effective for an entire game. His best outing came in Week 11 against the Jaguars, when he hauled in nine catches for 197 yards and one touchdown. But over the course of the entire season, he was highly unproductive.

Granted, a lot of T.O.'s troubles last year were a product of the Bills, or more specifically, their lack of an offensive line and quarterback. He really struggled against teams like the Jets, Saints and Patriots, but so did a lot of receivers. In the right situation, Owens can probably still be productive and more importantly, help a team win.

But a general manager that is even the slight bit interested has to weigh the risk versus the reward. Owens is a 36-year-old loudmouth coming off a bad season. This is the same player that crippled relationships with Jeff Garcia, Greg Knapp, Todd Haley, Tony Romo and most noteworthy, Donovan McNabb. If his skills are in major decline, why would any team want to bring him in and be a potential distraction to their locker room?

I think he'll play somewhere in 2010. He's certainly not a No. 1 anymore and on some teams, he wouldn't even be a No. 2. But there's going to be some team hamstrung by injuries at the receiver position that will take a flier on him just based on what he's done in the league.

That said, I also wouldn't be surprised if all 32 GMs passed because they believe they already have a better option on their roster that also won't force them to pop Advil on a weekly basis. And forget about T.O. being a potential distraction: if any team thought he were still a playmaker, he would have been signed already.

Talent always wins out in the end. Maybe GMs put the tape on from last year and see a player that just doesn't have it anymore.

By Anthony Stalter  |  July 15, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Free Agency , Terrell Owens Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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