Sports Outside the Beltway

T.O. Signs Potential Record Contract with Dallas Cowboys

Nick Eatman reports on the press conference announcing the Cowboys’ three year, $25 million deal for Terrell Owens.

Photo Terrell Owens news conference Dallas Cowboys Terrell Owens is now a Dallas Cowboy. The two sides made it official Saturday afternoon at Valley Ranch where owner Jerry Jones introduced his new wide receiver in a jam-packed press conference room at Valley Ranch. The Cowboys gave Owens a three-year deal worth $25 million, including a $5 million signing bonus.

“I couldn’t be more excited about getting here and being apart of this franchise,” said Owens, who sat alongside his agent Drew Rosenhaus during the press conference. “I’m not really interested in looking back to the past. I’ve made so mistakes. I know that. But it starts today. You can’t ever move forward if you keep bringing up the past.”

Jones fielded several questions concerning the risk-level of signing a player with off-the-field issues such as Owens, but refused to single out his new wide receiver as being any different those regards. “I think you have risks in every player that you sign,” Jones said. “I wouldn’t call this a high-risk move. Not at all.”

In fact, Owens might have given Jones and the Cowboys even more assurance when he interrupted a question during the press conference, turned to his new owner and said, “Jerry, I know what is expected of me and I won’t let you down.”

And Owens also knows he isn’t exactly a favorite among Cowboys’ fans and his touchdown-celebrations on the midfield star back in 2000 is the biggest reason for that. But Owens said he and Jones have already talked about that. “I will embrace the star,” said Owens, who also gave a quick message to his newest fans. “Hey, just get your popcorn ready. Because it’s going to be a show.”

Of that much, I’m sure.

Len Pasquarelli has details on the contract.

he contract that Terrell Owens signed with the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday provides him the opportunity to be one of the highest-paid wide receivers in NFL history over a three-year period, and the chance to earn more than he would have under his contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, has learned.


The three-year contract can be worth as much as $25 million if Owens plays through the deal and Dallas opts to pay him pricey roster bonuses in the springs of 2007 and 2008. Owens, who was released by the Eagles on Tuesday, will earn a bonus of $5 million for this season and a base salary of $5 million, for total compensation of $10 million. Under his contract with the Eagles, Owens would have earned $8.52 million for 2006. It should be noted that Owens lost about $4 million in 2005, between the base salary that he forfeited during his suspension and the prorated signing bonus money the Eagles withheld because they claimed he was in default on his contract. Dallas must pay Owens a roster bonus of $3 million in March 2007 to retain him for that season, at a base salary of $5 million. There is another roster bonus of $3 million due in March 2008, and Owens has a base salary of $4 million for that year.


Compared to the contracts of other high-profile wide receivers leaguewide, Owens can earn more over a three-year period than Randy Moss of Oakland did with his recent deal, and more over two seasons than Indianapolis’ Marvin Harrison did with his new contract signed two years ago.

Of course, as was the case in Philadelphia, Owens’ earning potential will be tied to his performance on and off the field. Because of the roster bonus, and the exercise dates of each, the contract in Dallas could be as short as one season. Even at one year, however, the $10 million that Owens will bank is more than some skeptics felt he could garner after his tumultuous 2005 season.

And if Owens is productive, and is not a distraction, the Cowboys seem to have the wherewithal and the future salary cap space to retain him for all three seasons of the contract.

Actually, a fair deal on both ends. The Cowboys risk $5.67 million on a superstar receiver this season. If all goes well, he continues to get superstar money. If not, the team cuts its losses and prorates the rest of the signing bonus over two more years at $1.66 million each. Not risk free, by any means, but certainly absorbable under the new labor deal.

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