NFL Nation: does owens fit
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
Welcome to the wild AFC West where it could get even wilder.
T.O. could be coming.
Let's look at the possibility of Terrell Owens, who was cut by Dallas, coming to each AFC West team. Let's start with the team that makes the most sense:
Oakland: The Raiders may be the leader in the clubhouse to land Owens.
Why? Because it just makes sense.
First, the Raiders need a receiver. They don't have a legitimate wideout and can use a true No. 1 receiver. Owens, 35, may be declining, but he certainly still believes he's a No. 1 wide receiver.
Not only would Owens fit a hole in Oakland, but he'd fit the mold. Over the years, Raiders owner Al Davis has loved taking on renegades. He likely wouldn't be scared off by Owens' history.
And the history isn't pretty. Despite all of his abilities and his production, Owens has been jettisoned by three teams. Again, Davis, who loved Randy Moss, wouldn't be scared.
Owens hasn't helped a team get over the hump. But the Raiders are far from being a contender (they have won a league-low 24 games in the past six years), so Owens can only help them.
Also, Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell is trying to establish himself so there likely wouldn't be much friction between Russell and Owens like there has been between Owens and other quarterbacks. Russell would likely bow down to Owens.
And here is the biggest reason of all that Owens could be a fit in Oakland: It could be his only chance to continue playing.
Kansas City: New Chiefs coach Todd Haley was the Cowboys' receivers coach in 2006, Owens' first season in Dallas. NFC East blogger Matt Mosley points out Haley once told Cowboys owner Jerry Jones during an interview: "You'll never win anything with [T.O.] on your team." Also, I'd have a difficult time believing new Chiefs general manager, Scott Pioli, would start the new era in Kansas City with Owens, although he was in New England when Moss was brought in.
Denver: The Broncos really don't have a need (assuming Brandon Marshall isn't suspended for an extended period of time). Plus, when former Denver coach Mike Shanahan toyed with the idea of bringing in Owens three years ago, owner Pat Bowlen wasn't a fan of the idea.
San Diego: This doesn't seem like a fit at all.
Is Terrell Owens a fit for any of the four AFC North teams? Let's examine each situation.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Nate Washington just signed with Tennessee and Limas Sweed is unproven, so there is a wide receiver need in Pittsburgh, especially considering Hines Ward's age and the fact that Ward and Santonio Holmes tend to miss games here and there. However, with as much as the Steelers stress character, they would never sign a player like Owens. Enough said.
Cleveland Browns: With Kellen Winslow shipped out to Tampa Bay, there is a shortage of pass catchers in Cleveland right now. However, this is a team going through a major facelift and malcontents such as Winslow (and possibly Braylon Edwards) are not going to be tolerated anymore. If Owens had been released a year ago, Cleveland might have been a suitor, but now, under Eric Mangini, it just isn't going to happen. The Browns are looking for player leadership and bringing in someone like Owens simply doesn't fit that formula.
Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals have been known to overlook disruptive personalities and players with character concerns. While Owens' play is declining, he would give Carson Palmer quite an arsenal to throw to, even with T.J. Houshmandzadeh now in Seattle. But the Bengals just signed Laveranues Coles and drafted two wide outs high last year who need to be developed. Not to mention, is there any reason whatsoever to put Owens and Chad Johnson in the same locker room? Bringing in Owens would be far too risky -- even for the Bengals.
Baltimore Ravens: Of the four teams in the division, Baltimore is the one that makes the most sense. A few years back, it looked as if Owens was headed to the Ravens, but there is a different head coach in the fold now and this was a very successful team last season without incorporating someone like Owens. Also, it could be argued that Owens' demand for the ball and antics could stunt the growth of young quarterback Joe Flacco. Baltimore does need another pass catcher, preferably one with the size and physicality that Owens offers, but after signing Matt Birk and re-signing Ray Lewis, money has to be tight. Overextending themselves for a malcontent like Owens would be bad business. Don't expect Ozzie Newsome to bite.
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After Jerry Jones' surprising move to release Terrell Owens, we're now wondering where the receiver will end up. The problem for T.O. is that Jones was the only owner that appeared to be intoxicated by the player's production and star appeal. Here's a look at what the other three teams in the division might be thinking:
Eagles: Hahahahahaha...Wouldn't it be great to see T.O. reunited with Donovan McNabb? Would this qualify as the type of addition that would appease McNabb as he sits in judgment of Eagles' management? And the funny thing is there's probably a pocket of Eagles fans that would be all for this move. But Andy Reid would never let this happen. So let's cross off the Eagles from our list.
Giants: Seems more plausible, but here's one report from Newsday's Bob Glauber saying the team has "zero" interest in Owens. With Plaxico Burress' career hanging in the balance, the Giants need a backup plan. T.O. would give them a big-play threat, but he'd be a poor fit with Eli Manning. OK, he's a poor fit with any quarterback. But I especially think that he'd annoy Manning, who struggled when tight end Jeremy Shockey kept barking at him. T.O. would make Shockey look encouraging.
Redskins: Ding ding ding! Dan Snyder would absolutely love to make this deal. He's close friends with Jerry Jones, but that wouldn't preclude Snyder from signing T.O. to an inflated deal. Conventional wisdom suggests the Redskins are out of money, but Snyder's not about being conventional. He could use some of the money he's saving on Jason Taylor to go after T.O. I don't think Jim Zorn would look forward to working with T.O., but he might not have a choice. The Redskins could offer T.O. a one-year deal worth somewhere in the $4 million neighborhood. By the way, he picked up a check for $13 million from the Cowboys last offseason, so don't feel too bad for Owens.
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
The release of Terrell Owens by Dallas brings up one obvious question. Where will the talented, but troubled, wide receiver end up next?
It's probably not going to be in the NFC South.
Here's a look at the four teams and why Owens probably doesn't fit:
Atlanta Falcons: They've got a nice starting combination in Roddy White and Michael Jenkins and some young talent with Harry Douglas and Laurent Robinson. Good chemistry was part of the reason the Falcons succeeded last year and they're not going to disrupt that. Coach Mike Smith is a no-nonsense guy and I can't see him wanting any part of Owens.
Carolina Panthers: They already bend the rules here for Steve Smith because his good side balances out the bad. Owner Jerry Richardson isn't going to bend his rules beyond Smith. Besides, putting Owens and Smith together just wouldn't work. Smith wasn't happy with the attention Keyshawn Johnson received in Charlotte and Owens brings a circus wherever he goes.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This is the one team in the division that we see as a remote possibility for Owens. If Jon Gruden still was the coach, Owens might already be with the Bucs. But new coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik might be a little more cautious with troubled guys and that may keep them away from Owens. But the Bucs do have plenty of cap room and could use a receiver who can do some things down the field.
On the surface, at least, the NFC North doesn't appear to be a likely destination for newly-released Dallas receiver Terrell Owens. (The bigger question: Will he find any destination in 2009?) In Black and Blue terms, Owens' personal history would intersect with some low-impact free agent philosophies. Let me explain:
Chicago: Bears general manager Jerry Angelo told the team Web site Wednesday that he planned to look for receivers in the draft rather than on the free agent market. The money given to free agent receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Angelo said, was "exorbitant" for a player approaching his 32nd birthday. That statement came before Owens was released, and Owens -- who turns 36 in December -- couldn't command Houshmandzadeh money. The Bears make the most sense for Owens in this division, but his addition would still be a departure from Angelo's current approach.
Detroit: The Lions are using their $35 million in cap space to sign handfuls of credible players to fill the gaps on their roster. They're not yet in the mode of expecting one player to put them over the top. It might sound attractive to pair Owens with budding superstar Calvin Johnson. But the Lions likely will draft a quarterback at some point in April, and the last thing they would want is to expose him to Owens', shall we say, eccentricities. And I question whether Owens would be interested in enduring the Lions' rebuilding process.
Green Bay: The Packers already have a strong situation at receiver with Greg Jennings and Donald Driver. Why risk that chemistry and production by adding Owens? More to the point, what about general manager Ted Thompson's approach suggests he would seek out a 35-year-old receiver? The Packers haven't made an impact signing on the free agent market in three years, and it's hard to imagine Owens changing that trend.
Minnesota: Owens clashed repeatedly with Vikings coach Brad Childress when the pair were in Philadelphia. According to an oft-repeated, but possibly apocryphal story, Owens told Childress not to speak to him during his final season with the Eagles. Childress responded by going out of his way to say "Hi," to Owens every day. It would be a stunner if the pair reunited.
The AFC East mailbag is already filling up with questions about Terrell Owens. Fans want to know if their teams will pursue the lightning rod receiver, and if so, will they be able to land him.
To analyze the possibilities within the AFC East, I have concocted the T.O. Index, a scientific formula endorsed by Mr. Peabody but -- in a rare rift -- dismissed by his boy, Sherman.
The T.O. Index is a scale from one to 100, factoring in three key criteria: whether the team needs a receiver (particularly a No. 1 target), whether a team would be willing to stomach Owens' act and whether the team could spend the money required to sign him.
Miami Dolphins T.O. Index 82
Receiver need: High. The Dolphins don't have a true No. 1 receiver. Instead they have a collection of 2's and 3's. The problem, though, is that quarterback Chad Pennington's limited arm would prevent the Dolphins from maximizing Owens' gifts and, therefore, the sizable investment required to land him. If Chad Henne were the quarterback, the outlook would be different.
Tolerance level: Medium. At least Dolphins management would know what they were getting themselves into. Football operations boss Bill Parcells coached Owens in Dallas. Dolphins coach Tony Sparano was an offensive assistant there under Parcells. Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland came from the Cowboys scouting department.
Pockets: Deep. New Dolphins owner Stephen Ross on Monday said Parcells has "a free hand" in personnel decisions and will not be inhibited financially. The Dolphins have room under the salary cap for plenty of moves.
New York Jets T.O. Index 63
Receiver need: Medium. The Jets parted ways with Laveranues Coles, but even before their divorce they needed a receiver with separation skills to stretch the field. The Jets don't know yet who their quarterback will be, but any of the candidates would love to hang the ball up for Owens to chase.
Tolerance level: High. Rookie head coach Rex Ryan is a charismatic leader with a reputation for being able to manage all sorts of personalities and egos from his years running the Baltimore Ravens' defense. Remember, the Ravens worked out a trade for Owens with the San Francisco 49ers, but the NFL overturned the deal. Ryan, as a defensive coach, probably wasn't asked to sign off on Owens then, but the team's willingness to take him on indicates how open-minded the Ravens were.
Pockets: Shrinking. The Jets have been so active over the past few days they might not have much flexibility. They signed linebacker Bart Scott and safety Jim Leonhard. They traded for cornerback Lito Sheppard and gave him an extension.
Buffalo Bills T.O. Index 38
Receiver need: Medium. The Bills have hosted Coles and Kelly Washington on free-agent visits. But they're looking for a No. 2 complement for leading man Lee Evans, who they're already paying an average of more than $9 million a year. Of course, Owens as the No. 1 and Evans as the No. 2 would be a pretty nasty duo. Nah, never happen.
Tolerance level: Medium. The Bills haven't had any many divas or headline-grabbing players over the past decade, although running back Marshawn Lynch has been a recurring headache lately. We're not sure how strong Lynch's organizational support is these days.
Pockets: Taffy. The Bills have plenty of room under the salary cap to make a big-ticket purchase, but if they went after Owens, it would be shocking. They simply don't pursue these types of players and rarely throw their money around. One exception was two years ago, when the Bills made guard Derrick Dockery the highest-paid player in team history. The Bills cut Dockery last week.
New England Patriots T.O. Index 22
Receiver need: Low. They already have Randy Moss and Wes Welker. We saw what happened in Dallas when Owens didn't think he was getting enough attention from Tony Romo. The Patriots might need another receiver after losing Jabar Gaffney to free agency, but I think Moss and Owens on the same team with Tom Brady is against the Geneva Convention.
Tolerance level: Low. The Patriots preach concepts like team and system and accountability and, for the love of man, self-restraint.
Pockets: Deep, but mostly spoken for. The Patriots were so jammed against the cap they had to restructure Moss' contract to sign running back Fred Taylor and tight end Chris Baker. They have some breathing room that they've traded Matt Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel, but they won't be spending a chunk on a luxury item after sacrificing to free up the money.
The quick answer: Not at all. It would be a huge surprise to me if he landed with any of the AFC South teams.
Houston: Set with Andre Johnson as a top-flight No. 1, the Texans also have a good supporting cast for him with Kevin Walter, Andre Davis, David Anderson and Jacoby Jones. And the franchise doesn't generally chase big-ticket free agents or guys who could be a sore thumb in the locker room. Plus it wouldn't want a Dallas castoff.
Indianapolis: Yes, the Colts have a hole at receiver after Marvin Harrison was cut. But Bill Polian doesn't bring in big-name, high-price, older free agents and the team generally tries to keep Peyton Manning from headaches, not provide them for him.
Jacksonville: The Jaguars need a dynamic play-making receiver. But they've sworn off pricey free agents and are putting a huge emphasis on chemistry and leadership. Those aren't the first two qualities most people think of when Owens is up for discussion. They're too run-based and small market for Owens anyway.
Tennessee: A team that once passed on drafting Randy Moss is always receiver needy, and never in a hurry to bring in anyone who could become a locker room problem. Owens' baggage isn't something the Titans would want unpacked in their locker room. Like the Jags, they're too run-based and small market for Owens anyway.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Arizona: The Cardinals have a great thing going with Larry Fitzgerald. They still have Anquan Boldin, they have developed Steve Breaston and they now have more than $21 million in 2009 salary-cap space allotted for Kurt Warner and Fitzgerald. Adding Owens would upset the current balance and threaten overall chemistry.
San Francisco: The 49ers need receivers, no question, but their quarterbacks and offensive system likely wouldn't satisfy Owens' appetite for the football. Coach Mike Singletary has enough work keeping the volatile Vernon Davis in line. Owens might push him over the edge.
St. Louis: The Rams could badly use what Owens would offer them on the field, but a first-time head coach backed by first-time coordinators might have a hard time handling Owens while trying to establish their own program. Marc Bulger' stat line would certainly benefit, however, and Steven Jackson would find more favorable matchups in the running game.
Seattle: The Seahawks already signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh. They have millions more tied up with Deion Branch and Nate Burleson. I can't see general manager Tim Ruskell adding such a volatile and potentially divisive personality to the locker room, particularly after investing so much in Houshmandzadeh. Branch and Burleson impressed head coach Jim Mora when they embraced Houshmandzadeh's signing. Owens wouldn't be so selfless.
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