Behind the Scenes: Flozell's Signing (Part I)

IRVING, Texas -- Ever wondered how NFL contract dealings go down? Allow me to offer a behind-the-scenes briefing of Flozell Adams' day at the negotiation table – and trust me, this ain't "Any Given Sunday'' or "Jerry Maguire.''

In the movies, it's so simple: Al Pacino announces his resignation from the Miami Sharks and then, in violation of all league rules we've ever heard of, also announces that hip-hop OB Jamie Foxx is coming with him! Or, Arizona receiver Cuba Gooding Jr. demands that agent Tom Cruise "Shows Him The Money!'' and Cruise does, leading to Gooding to winning and Oscar and then being reduced to his rightful place as a TV underwear pitchman.

Flozell Adams' last-day-before-free-agency dealings were not the stuff of Hollywood.

Rather, they were about:

• An agent with a nasty flu.

• Eight straight hours of treacherous dealings.

• Tag-teaming between two guys on Flo's side and the two executive Joneses on the other.

• Maybe a case of Pepsi between ‘em all.

• A pop-in to the executive wing from an antsy – and eventually, ecstatic -- head coach in Wade Phillips.

• A vocal endorsement for Adams from a young-but-assertive offensive coordinator.

• An emergency flight from Chicago to DFW.

• And maybe the deal-sealer: a "Please-sign-him'' phone call to Jerry Jones from a "secret admirer.''

Nine days before Thursday's deadline, Pro Bowl left tackle Flozell Adams made the critical decision to change representation to Dallas-based agent Jordan Woy. Adams knew many Cowboys teammates over the years who had been represented by Woy; the agent came with the credential of knowing how to work with the Cowboys front office.

"Flozell,'' Woy asked Adams as they agreed to work together, "What is it you want?''

Adams' reply came in two parts – and in order of importance.

"I want to stay with the Cowboys,'' Flo said. "But I want to get paid.''

When Woy and an associate visited the team's Valley Ranch offices at the start of the business day, he went in knowing "we were somewhat in the same ballpark.'' There are NFL salaries for premier offensive linemen that helped frame the prospective numbers. There was the $9 million base salary for what Adams would've earned had he been franchised – and when the Cowboys opted to not tag him, it was to be taken as a sign of good faith. There was the understanding that this was to be a long-term agreement (eventually, six years) and that the signing bonus would be double-figures (which it certainly is.)

But Woy also had an important ace up his sleeve – the sort of card that maybe can only be acquired after working with the Cowboys for two decades: He knew that Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett had, the previous night, personally phoned Jerry Jones to reinforce in the owner's mind the importance of Adams to the Cowboys attack.

And if we've learned anything about Jason and Jerry. … well, Jason – almost certainly the heir to the Cowboys' head-coaching throne – gets what he wants.

There would be one more ace, too. But neither Adams nor his agent could possibly know about this one.

The principles spent much of the early morning together in the same three rooms in the Valley Ranch executive wing, moving occasionally from the boardroom to Jerry's office to Stephen's office. At one point, Woy excused himself.

He phoned Flozell Adams – who was in Chicago, his 6-7, 340-pound frame positioned precariously on pins and needles.

"You need to fly here – right now!'' Woy commanded.

Coming up tomorrow ... Part II

CowboysHQ Top Stories