DMN’s Jean-Jacques Taylor reports that the Cowboys have reached an agreement in principle for controversial wideout Terrell Owens.
The Cowboys have reached an agreement in principle with star wide receiver Terrell Owens, two sources said Friday night. The sources said a formal announcement regarding the free-agent receiver is expected in the next few days. The sources also said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and coach Bill Parcells are scheduled to return to Dallas today. Jones and club spokesman Rich Dalrymple could not be reached for comment. Owens’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, could not be reached for comment.
Owens would give the Cowboys the type of dynamic receiver they have not had since a neck injury forced Michael Irvin to retire after the 1999 season. Until last season, Owens had caught at least 77 passes for at least 1,100 yards each of the last five seasons. He has played in the Pro Bowl five of the last six seasons. Dallas hasn’t had a Pro Bowl receiver since Irvin in 1995 and has had just one 1,000-yard receiver since 2000.
The addition of Owens should help an offense that struggled to score touchdowns at times last season. Dallas failed to score more than 14 points in six games, losing each of them. With Owens in the lineup drawing double coverage, it should create more one-on-one opportunities for receiver Terry Glenn and tight end Jason Witten. And with Owens occupying at least one safety, that means one fewer defender in the running game that Julius Jones has to be concerned about, which should make him more productive.
Owens will be playing for his third team in four seasons because he can be toxic within a locker room. He has feuded with his last two quarterbacks â€“ Jeff Garcia and McNabb â€“ and each quarterback had a Pro Bowl on his resume. Owens has thrown sideline temper tantrums when he doesn’t think he’s getting the ball enough, and those tantrums have been directed at coaches and teammates. However, there has never been any question about his work ethic or production.
The Cowboys are betting that Parcells can handle Owens and prevent him from becoming a problem in the locker room.
We shall see. There’s no question at all that he’s one of the top two or three wide receivers in the business; whether he’s worth the headaches he brings is another matter.
Taylor breaks Owens’ game down this way:
HEAD: He’s probably the most combustible player in the NFL, and if the ball isn’t coming his way regularly enough then he will take out his frustration on quarterbacks, assistant coaches and head coaches. That said, he’s an intelligent player who understands how to attack man and zone coverages and find room to maneuver against each.
HANDS: You don’t catch an average of 76 passes over the last nine seasons with having superior hands. Owens drops few passes and will catch the ball in traffic. He competes hard for passes in jump ball situations and normally comes down with them.
LEGS: Owens’ ability to run after the catch makes him one of the game’s most dangerous players. He can turn a five-yard out into a 70-yard touchdown because of his strong lower body that allows him to run through arm tackles and then outrun everyone chasing him. In 2004, he finished seventh among receivers with 404 yards after catch, accounting for slightly more than one-third of his receiving yards.
ROUTES: Name a route and Owens runs it well. He has the speed to run by defensive backs on the fly pattern. He has the upper-body strength to create separation on out routes. And he understands how to find soft spots in zone coverage and patiently wait for the quarterback to get him the ball. Owens knows how to make all of his routes look the same until he’s ready to make a move, then he uses his explosion to get in and out of his break so quickly that the defensive back has little chance to cover him.
HEART: You can question whether Owens is a good teammate, but you can’t question his desire to play the game at its highest level. He will play through pain and his desire to win, in some respects, is what causes many of his sideline antics. He believes that if the ball is in his hands, he will help his team win.
Retired cornerback turned analyst Eric Allen says,
The Cowboys’ signing of T.O. is a great move for both parties. It’s a great move for the Cowboys because it gets them one step closer to becoming a Super Bowl contender. Say what you will about his attitude and off field actions, but Owens is a superstar receiver who gives his all on the field every play. He’s a tremendous talent who makes things much easier for his teammates because opposing defenses must key in on him to stop him from completely dominating the game.
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