Sports Outside the Beltway

Cowboys Could be Interested in Jets Cap Casualties

Nick Eatman thinks a couple of recently-cut New York Jets could find themselves reunited with their old coach.

Any time a proven veteran becomes available, either after being released or simply as a free agent, it’s only natural to wonder how that could help or hurt your own team. But for Cowboys fans, watching the New York Jets unload several veteran players on Tuesday should do more than just pique their interest, considering how many former Jets have wound up in Dallas over the last three years.

Since head coach Bill Parcells took over in 2003, he has made it clear he will reunite with players he trusts. In three years, he has brought back former Jets Keyshawn Johnson, Richie Anderson, Vinny Testaverde, Dedric Ward, Jason Ferguson, Aaron Glenn and Ryan Young. He’s also reunited with former Patriots Terry Glenn, Drew Bledsoe and Chad Eaton.

So with the Jets dumping seven former players for salary-cap reasons, Cowboys fans everywhere should pay attention. Because you can bet Parcells has. Four of those vets played for Parcells, who left the team in 1999 after spending three years as head coach.

While Ty Law, who was drafted by Parcells in New England in 1996, tops the list of the Jets’ recent cuts, the Cowboys will probably be more interested in offensive tackle Jason Fabini, who had played in every game with the Jets since 1998 before a chest injury forced him to injured reserve this past season. A fourth-round draft pick by Parcells in 1998, Fabini has started 114 games at offensive tackle, mostly on the left side. But Fabini did spend his first two seasons playing right tackle. The Cowboys obviously have a need at the position, with rookie Rob Petitti starting all 16 games last season. While the sixth-round pick showed some signs of improvement, the Cowboys will likely look for more stability.

Another cap-casualty for the Jets was fullback Jerald Sowell, a player Parcells has raved about more than once since joining the Cowboys. A nine-year vet who has played in all 137 games of his career, Sowell is the Jets’ all-time leading tackler on special teams with 147. Sowell posted 37 special teams tackles in 2003 alone. But the veteran fullback has also developed into a solid pass-catcher, recording 147 career receptions, including 111 in the last three years. The Cowboys could stand for an improvement at fullback, with Lousaka Polite as the only current player at the position. There were two games last season in which the Cowboys deactivated Polite and played without a fullback, using tight ends Jason Witten and Dan Campbell in more of a blocking role.

The Cowboys have benefitted greatly from Parcells reunited with “his guys.” The problem, though, is that it has been six years since Parcells coached the Jets, which means these guys are getting long in the tooth. And the Cowboys really don’t need to get older.

Still, Fabini might be a good addition if a cap-friendly deal can be reached. The Cowboys desperately need help on the offensive line and that’s one position where good players seem to last a long time.

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