It's not easy to do. But somewhere out there, Dallas owner Jerry Jones is smiling. Maybe even laughing. Throw Shante Carver and Sherman Williams in his face every time you want to make fun of his talent evaluating skills, but when it comes to financial negotiations, does he have any peers at all?
Just a week after securing cornerback Terence Newman and running back Marion Barber with long-term contracts, Jones was at it again, signing wide receiver Terrell Owens to a contract extension that reportedly brings Owens $34 million over the next four seasons. The deal reportedly includes a restructuring of his contract for the 2008 season so he'll make about $27 over the first three years, putting him in the same tax bracket as Randy Moss.
But admit it: that the deal averages "only" $8.5 million per year is surprising. Newman's deal (if it is the six-year, $50 million deal that has been reported) averaged less, but only slightly less. And while Newman is an exceptional talent at cornerback, he is not Owens — in Jerry-speak, anyway.
That's not to belittle Newman's ability or value on the field, but as good as he is, he's not the name and personality Owens is. If quarterback Tony Romo is the face of the team, Owens is the mouth of the team. When the media invades the Dallas locker room, only Romo draws a comparable crowd around his locker, and in this case, "comparable" does not mean "equal." Owens is a rock star to the media, and reporters hang on his every word, like a philosopher who just might soon share the meaning in life.
Jones knows this. His star receiver is more of a SportsCenter staple than Romo, with or without Jessica Simpson.
Owens is a multimedia draw, appearing courtside at NBA playoff games and on a reality show with Flava Flav — OK, Jones might not be any more proud of that last part than Cowboys fans are(n't), but the man is a walking revenue stream. Judging by the Fort Knox Jones is building in Arlington, it's clear he knows a thing or two about generating revenue.
Jones always has loved stars, perhaps as much as, or more than, he loves winning. Stars represent money, especially when working for a marketing maniac like Jones. Many now suspect that because of the pricetag of the tickets at the new stadium, Jones will make back his investment before the first ball is kicked off. If Owens behaves himself throughout his new contract as he has during his first two seasons in blue and silver, Jones investment in the mercurial star will prove to be a bargain.
Bargain Shopping with T.O.?
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