NFC East: Buffalo Bills. T.O. signing
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
|James Lang/US Presswire|
|Terrell Owens agreed to a deal with the Bills on Saturday.|
Former Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens may not have nine NFL lives, but he has at least four. According to a report by ESPN.com's John Clayton, T.O. has agreed to a one-year deal worth $6.5 million with the Buffalo Bills.
The $6.5 million is apparently guaranteed, which would appear to be a huge win for T.O., whose prospects looked bleak when he was released by the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday. T.O.'s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, had predicted his client would have a deal in place by the end of next week, and that sounded pretty optimistic considering T.O.'s much-publicized issues in Dallas. Several teams quickly issued press releases saying they wouldn't be interested in the controversial player, but the Bills were there to catch him.
He'll join an offense led by quarterback Trent Edwards, and he'll play opposite receiver Lee Evans, who's been on the decline since an 82-catch season in 2006. After spending his career with three big-market teams, T.O. is in for a huge change in Buffalo. But it's not like he'll be able to avoid the spotlight. He remains the biggest lightning rod in the league, which will make the Bills' 2009 training camp a completely different experience.
FOXsports.com was the first outlet to report T.O.'s visit to Buffalo. He was reportedly scheduled to leave town Saturday night if a deal wasn't in place, but the Bills obviously moved quickly. I'm sure Bills owner Ralph Wilson spent some time on the phone with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who had offered to be T.O.'s No. 1 reference.
The biggest surprise in all of this is the guaranteed contract. T.O.'s combination of age (35) and past issues screams for an incentive-laden contract, but much like Jones did three years ago, the Bills decided to make a serious commitment to the player. Even for a 35-year-old receiver with a spotless past, making $6.5 million per year would be a tremendous feat. And you wonder why players fall all over themselves to sign with Rosenhaus?
T.O.'s proven that he can destroy any locker room -- no matter how tight it might be. The Bills are being naive to think they could be the exception. But in reality, he's being brought in as a mercenary. Buffalo apparently thinks it's one elite player away from making a playoff run. That seems like a stretch to me in the competitive AFC East.
Tim Graham of AFC East blog fame, this guy is all yours!