Sometimes, sports and money can combine to make for strange bed fellows. Consider that the Eagles are allowing Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for deposed wide receiver Terrell Owens, to negotiate a deal that would facilitate a trade between the Eagles and another team to get Owens out of Philadelphia. Rosenhaus and the Eagles were like oil and water this past season and many blamed Rosenhaus for many of the problems between Owens and the team.
Actually, this is a situation that makes perfect sense. If the Eagles were to simply cut Owens, they would get nothing in return. As a free agent, it's not clear what Owens would be able to get in terms of a contract with another club, especially if there weren't too many clubs fighting to sign him. Rest assured though that teams would look to get him for a cheap signing bonus, low base salary and offer incentives to make up the majority of the money that Owens might receive. In the trade scenario, Rosenhaus could still find out which teams are interested in his client and could renegotiate Owens' deal, hoping to get a better offer from a club. Plus, if there are multiple teams interested, Owens could still have a hand in deciding where he'll play next season, just as he would being a free agent.
The idea of Rosenhaus being successful isn't far fetched. He negotiated deals to get clients Clinton Portis and Reuben Droughns out of Denver and into better situations for themselves with Washington and Cleveland, respectively. Plus, he has his reputation, which took a hit during the Owens debacle, to think about. If Rosenhaus can come out of this getting a decent deal for Owens in a city where he would want to play and get the Eagles something when they expected to get nothing, some of Rosenhaus' pride and reputation may be salvaged. After all, the Eagles initially planned on dumping Owens before March 1st, which is the official start of "next season" for the NFL.
Even though Owens seemingly has now worn out his welcome in both San Francisco and Philadelphia, there are reportedly other teams interested in talking with Rosenhaus about either a trade or free agent deal for Owens. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could team Owens with Joey Galloway to give them a potent corps of receivers. The Jets could also use Owens to help improve their passing attack. Both Tampa Bay and New York were hurt by injuries to their quarterbacks this past season, but with healthy quarterbacks and by adding Owens to the mix, either club would take a giant leap forward in their passing attack.
Tampa Bay would be interesting considering that Jon Gruden went through the Keyshawn Johnson debacle. You would think that he would be having horrible flashbacks to those days, but reports out of Tampa Bay are that Gruden is somewhat infatuated with Owens and that his theory is full-steam ahead to work out a deal. New York also knows the Keyshawn situation, but they're reportedly in, too. Don't lose sight of the fact that the Jets top receiver was Laveranues Coles, who caught 73 passes for the Jets, worth 845 yards and five touchdowns. Owens led the Eagles with 763 yards and six touchdown catches in just seven games. Granted, again, the Jets were without Chad Pennington, but you still have to take note of what Owens might mean to the Jets.
There actually are a number of twists and turns to this situation. Originally, the problems started when T.O. wanted to renegotiate his contract, feeling that he was underpaid. Now, finding a team that would honor his remaining deal might prove difficult, but it certainly would be sweet irony to see Owens playing for the exact terms that he deemed unfit to play for this season. The truth is that Owens may have to take even less just to reprove himself not as a player, but as a clubhouse member. He says he's learned his lesson and just wants to get back on the field and play somewhere that he'll be appreciated. The Eagles would probably appreciate any team that would give them something for him.
While this is all very interesting, trades can't be consummated until March 3rd and T.O.'s roster bonus is set to be paid a week after that. In other words, don't sit by your computer watching transactions columns to see what happens. This is going to take some time. Keep in mind too, that the Eagles tried this approach a few years ago with Jeremiah Trotter and supposedly, there were absolutely no offers for him. Soon after he was released, he signed a big money deal with the Redskins, only to be cut after two years and come back to the Eagles. After all, if a team is interested in signing Owens, why give up a player and/or a draft pick to get him when everybody knows that he's going to be a free agent.
The whole "work out your own trade" idea is a good one, but don't think for a minute that Rosenhaus won't benefit. If the Eagles were to hang onto Owens until March and then cut him loose, Rosenhaus would have to wait until then to negotiate with teams. This way, he gets a head start on who may be interested and don't think for a minute that some other club will offer Rosenhaus details of the type of deal they would give Owens if they have to trade for him and a better deal that they would give him if they don't have to send something back to the Eagles. If the Jets, Bucs or some other team believe that they can get at T.O. better now than they could by waiting for him to become a free agent, then they may be moved to offer up something. Otherwise, there would be no reason to jump into the fire and give up more than they would have to if they feel they've got a good shot at Owens in free agency.