Allen Saga Neverending

With Larry Allen visiting Oakland and Detriot last week, it seems like a safe bet to assume his days in Dallas are done. And certainly, if that happens, the Cowboys' draft strategy could be dramatically changed.

Disgruntled guard Larry Allen's days with the Cowboys are seemingly over.

Allen, who has butted heads with coach Bill Parcells for much of the last year, visited Detroit on Thursday in hopes facilitating a trade before next weekend's NFL draft.

The trip to Detroit came two days after he made a similar visit with the Oakland Raiders. Per league rules, Allen, who has four years emaining on his contract, must have permission from the Cowboys to make these trips.

And the Cowboys would like to move Allen for no lower than a third-round pick in an attempt to increase their stock of selections in the draft. The Cowboys have five picks.

Any chance of Allen returning to Dallas would likely be because of his strong relationship with Jerry Jones, and the financial and strategical impacts of his departure.

To trade or cut him before June 1 would cost the Cowboys $8.2 million in dead money on the 2004 salary cap. His current 2004 cap value is $5.5 million.

If the team waited until after June 1, it would cost it $2.06 million in 2004 and $6.2 million in 2005, saving roughly $3.4 million off the cap in 2004.

But the Cowboys apparently have been bracing for this decision since the beginning of free agency. They still have more than $10 million in space available under the 2004 cap, giving them the flexibility to absorb the hit and perhaps acquire an additional draft pick.

Trading Allen, however, brings more questions to an uncertain Cowboys offensive line heading into the draft.

While left tackle Flozell Adams, center Matt Lehr and right guard Andre Gurode are returning starters from last season, the only guaranteed performer is Adams, a first-time Pro Bowler in 2003.

Lehr, a stopgap solution in 2003, will be pushed by Al Johnson, who missed last season with a knee injury. Gurode's uneven play in 2003 has the Cowboys still looking for a possible upgrade. The team was already heading into the draft hoping to select a possible starter at right tackle to replace the departed Ryan Young.

Now they may be looking for a guard and a tackle.

Gennaro DiNapoli and Tyson Walter head the list of possible in house candidates to replace Allen.

CowboysHQ Top Stories