The pre-Draft acquisition of the explosive (and implosive) Pacman Jones might be offensive to the moralists. … at least until Pacman scores his first TD on an interception or punt return. But the deal is structured in a clever and I think unprecedented way.
And the same sort of cleverness could lead to another blockbuster deal.
First to the Pacman thing:
The Cowboys will send the Titans a fourth-round pick in this draft. The Cowboys could send the Titans a sixth-rounder in 2009 depending on Jones' on-field success.
Jones was the first defensive player chosen in the 2005 NFL Draft, is a Pro Bowl-caliber corner who will at least match Terence Newman as the team's best at the position, is a tick behind Devin Hester in his ability to be a premier returnman and is just 24 years old.
A fourth and a sixth? That's a steal.
The only risk, of course, is if Pacman isn't reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, or if Pacman at some point decides to involve himself in an 11th incident in which he's been interviewed by law-enforcement officials. If trouble occurs this year, and the NFL suspends him again?
Dallas doesn't have to give up the sixth-rounder, of course. And Dallas gets back the fourth-rounder.
Zero risk. And clever in I think an unprecedented way: Has a trade ever included a "In-Case-He-Makes-It-Rain'' Clause?
Now it's time to apply the same creativity to attempting to steal a "Wow''boy on the other side of the ball.
Cincinnati's Chad Johnson, Arizona's Anquan Boldin and Detroit's Roy Williams top the list of the established standout wide receivers who are floating in the NFL rumor ether.
One Dallas Morning News columnist has stated unequivocally that discussing such trades is a waste of time. The columnist wrote:
"The biggest holdup is that none of those three players seems to be available. Cincinnati and Detroit have been adamant that Johnson and Williams are not available. Boldin has said he wants to remain with the Cardinals. Dallas would love to acquire one of them, but it doesn't appear to be an option.''
I beg to differ. I submit that it would take more cleverness (not the forte of some in the mainstream media, to be sure). But let's repair some of the misconceptions:
· All three of those aforementioned players HAVE made reported noise about wanting a change of scenery, including Boldin.
· Johnson is available enough that Cincy just turned down two high picks. Meaning there was serious trade talk. Meaning he's, you know, available.
· Detroit is in fire-sale mode and would obviously listen to a Dallas offer that featured both No. 1 picks.
In other words, the DMNews columnist is pretty much wrong about everything he wrote – except that Dallas would like to acquire one of them.
So, having trudged through the misinformation, let's handle the next set of details:
· There have been indications from the camps of Johnson and Williams that they would love to line up opposite Terrell Owens in Dallas.
· Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is on record this week as saying the Cowboys have indeed talked trade with about acquiring a veteran receiver, and that Cincinnati wasn't the team.
· As best I can gather, the salary-cap hit to Cincy for moving the disgruntled Pro Bowler Johnson would be in the $6-to-$8 million range. That number alone explains coach Marvin Lewis' hard-line stand on Chad's misbehavior; there is simply very little maneuvering room here. Cincy's turn-down of Washington for Johnson figures to be fueled by the money.
· Boldin feels he is grossly underpaid and wants out of Arizona. At the same time, Cardinals officials are declaring their desire to retain him, and maybe to extend his contract in order to satisfy him. Now, we all know how much stock we should put into what teams say publicly about trades. Especially during draft week. Oh, and his cap hit is probably $4.5 mil or so, a tolerable number. But if they are gonna pay him. …
· Williams is a Texas native, a UT product and a Cowboys fan. He's got just one year left on his contract – meaning he'll put the Lions in his rear-view mirror next summer, anyway – and I believe has a cap hit of just $3 mil or so.
And there's your guy. Roy Williams wants to escape a team that is traditionally bad, a team that will lose him anyway. That team is dumping and restructuring like mad. Williams likes Dallas. Dallas likes Williams. And as long as it doesn't cost both No. 1's – late at night at Jones' Highland Park mansion, the nightmares include visions of Joey Galloway hiding under Jerry's bed – that's an extremely sensible target.
Also worth noting here: Draft Week is when NFL teams inexplicably over-value picks and under-value established players. Draft Day in particular is when teams convince themselves that they can snare the NEXT Johnson, the NEXT Williams, the NEXT Boldin. … and to do so without cap hits, monster salaries and headaches.
Some more creative thinking on the part of the Cowboys – Pacman-trade thinking – could allow Dallas to take advantage of a chance to get another "Wow''boy.
Roy Williams in Dallas Makes Sense
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