Sports Outside the Beltway

Eagles to Release T.O. Today

Len Pasquarelli reports that, ” barring some last-minute twist” Terrell Owens will be cut outright today by the Eagles.

One way or another, Terrell Owens’ tumultuous two-year tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles is almost certain to end Tuesday, likely with the team releasing the exiled wide receiver who played in only seven games in 2005. The seven-year contract that Owens signed with the Eagles in 2004 stipulates that the team is to pay him a $5 million bonus if he is on the roster for the fifth day of the “league year.” Because of the delays necessary to negotiate an extension to the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, the league year began Saturday instead of March 3 as originally scheduled, and that makes Wednesday the due date for the bonus. If Owens is still on the roster on Wednesday morning, the Eagles are on the hook for the roster bonus. To avoid paying the $5 million, they must release him by the end of league business hours Tuesday — or no later than 4 p.m. ET Tuesday — so that he is on the official transaction document disseminated to all 32 franchises. So barring some last-minute twist, Owens, who is also due a second bonus of $2.5 million later this month, will be released before the afternoon deadline. The end of the Philly-Owens relationship will immediately make him a free agent, and it will save the Eagles $4.54 million in salary cap charges in the coming season.

There is a remote possibility, of course, that Owens could be traded. But most franchises interested in the big-play wideout have been reluctant to invest even a low-round draft choice in a player who figures to be available on the open market. Also, any team dealing for Owens would inherit his current contract, and clubs believe it is a prohibitive deal — there are five seasons remaining on the contract, which was originally worth $49 million — that needs to be reworked.

Owens visited with Denver officials in late January, and the Broncos seem intrigued by him, but owner Pat Bowlen said this week the perceived ardor has been “overblown.” It is not believed that Owens made any other visits. He and agent Drew Rosenhaus were granted permission in January to seek potential trade partners.

It does not appear likely, league officials acknowledged last week, that Owens or Rosenhaus have any avenues of recourse remaining for blocking the wide receiver’s release. Nor does it appear any such move would be in Owens’ best interests, since gaining his freedom will enable him to quickly begin shopping for a new home.

The other team consistently rumored interested in Owens are the Dallas Cowboys. Unless they are able to sign him to a deal that is incredibly incentive laden and with little up front money–which looks more likely than I would have guessed given the apparent lack of interest by other teams–I would hope not.

There’s always the Redskins, though.

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