Despite denying countless accusations and speculations by the owner, Jerry Jones of this becoming a possibility, the Dallas Cowboys have released volatile-star wide receiver, Terrell Owens during the early morning hours on Thursday March 5, 2009.
Unlike many players who are released during the offseason, Owens wasn’t let go due to the amount of money he was scheduled to make, nor was it an issues of lack of productivity. It was simply an issue of team chemistry, actually a major issue.
Throughout Owens’ three-year tenure as a Cowboy, he averaged 78.3 receptions, 1195.7 receiving yards and 12.7 receiving touchdowns per season. Over that same span, T.O. posted 5 receptions, 76.3 receiving yards and .8 receiving touchdowns per game. In all Owens played 47 games donning a Dallas Cowboys uniform and put up 235 receptions, 3587 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns, along with numerous comical situations, looker room controversy and major known disputes between everyone in the organization from coaches to players.
Owens’ statistics did suffer a slight decline in 2008, as his 69 receptions and 1, 052 receiving yards were his lowest outputs in each category during a season in which he competed in at least 14 games since 1999 (60 receptions and 754 receiving yards). T.O. also saw a decline in his touchdown production in ’08, as he only reached the end zone on 10 occasions which was lowest output, playing in at least 14 games since his nine in 2003.
The Cowboys’ decision to release Owens came just 10 months after signing him to a 4 year/$34M contract extension, which paid him a $12.9M signing bonus. That was the major component which gave any sense of security to Owens himself and anyone else of him returning to Dallas for the 2009 season. The other was Jones’ coy, insinuating comments which were made from the moment Dallas’ ’08 season ended until just as recent as a few weeks ago.
Releasing Owens will cost the Cowboys $9.675M in total dead money against their 2009 salary cap; however they will only lose his salary, $680, 000 in actual money. In the long run, financially the Cowboys will save $3.1M more in actual money due to not having to pay Owens his roster bonus on June 1. But it is truly how much Dallas gains in looker room chemistry and positive attitude that will measure exactly how effective this decision will be.
At age 35, this now free agent, future hall-of-fame wide receiver now must find a new home in order to continue his career after thinking all along that Dallas was his final stop before taking that fulfilling trip to Canton, Ohio.
Early rumors have teams like New Orleans, Baltimore, Washington, Indianapolis and Oakland possibly interested signing the 6-time All-Pro wide out, however it is clear exactly which team is capable and ready to deal with the potential hassle and headache which is the enigma, Terrell Owens.
Seemingly since Jerry Rice’s and Steve Young’s departure from San Francisco, Owens has been both a gift and a curse to whatever NFL franchise he has played for. When you add that factor into his slightly declining statistics and his career-long flaw of dropping passes, it becomes a matter of is it all worth it. His inconsistency on the field, not holding on to balls and running the proper routes every play and his consistency to create a blazing trail of controversy behind with every move or word and not being a positive influence on younger stars on his team cased all of this and might possibly end his chance at playing on another championship caliber team.
Despite and due to his reputation there will at least be a handful of teams around the league eyeing Owens for his services in 2009, maybe not where he may choose to go, but then again he didn’t choose to leave Dallas in the first place.