Cowart is HISTORY!

The Jets signed Sam Cowart to a six-year, $31 million deal, including a $1.8 million signing bonus today. The Bills reportedly had offered more to Cowart, but the sticking point was that Cowart's salary would be drastically reduced if he got hurt. The Jets apparently had no such stipulation in their contract offer.

In fact, if Cowart stays healthy - and there's no reason to think he can't because several specialists have looked him over and declared he's almost ready to go - New York stole a player from Buffalo who could end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday. I swear I'm not overstating this either. Cowart is that good.

When you examine the circumstances of Cowart's deal further, it wasn't as much about money as it was about personality.

Cowart simply wanted to reunite with Ted Cottrell, now the Jets' DC, who basically developed him as a professional. The two have a good relationship. So with the Bills and Jets offers being similar, with the exception of the Bills' wishes for a salary reduction agreement in case Cowart was hurt, Cottrell became the deciding factor.

In addition, however, there are other things that lead me to believe that Cowart really didn't wish to stay in Buffalo.

He didn't seem to like the way the new administration of Donahoe and Gregg Williams handled things.

I remember talking to him in training camp last year about the team moving Corey Moore from the weakside to the middle - when Moore was undersized to play weakside to begin with - and Cowart remarked how the new coaches seemed to make changes with no regard to what the players were feeling.

Now combining that comment with Williams' declaration earlier that off-season that Sam Cowart will play wherever he wants him to play, you clearly begin to see that Cowart had made up his mind on what kind of coaches he'd be playing for.

The funny thing is that Cowart is not a difficult person. He's respectful. And he's pleasant, personable and honest.

From my standpoint, I always noticed that he was really deliberate with his answers to my questions, thinking intently about what he wanted to say without spewing the standard bull.

I wish more players would be like that. But maybe these types of players are difficult for coaches. Maybe coaches would rather have a group of robots programmed to carry out their will without question.

Overall, it's unbelievable how fast the Bills have managed to tear the guts out of their top-ranked defenses of just a couple of years ago. Heading into the 2000 season, it seemed like Cowart, along with Mike linebacker John Holecek would remain the cornerstones of the defense for a while. The duo meshed so well in Cottrell's 3-4 scheme. Now both are gone, and it's hard to believe.

The Bills' options at this point are Pittsburgh UFA Earl Holmes - whom some think Tom Donahoe wanted to bring into Buffalo all along - and the Rams' London Fletcher. Or Buffalo could choose to head into the season with Brandon Spoon as their starter.

But make no mistake, Cowart's loss is a terrible blow to Buffalo. The fact that he went to a divisional rival makes it even worse.

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