Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Updated: April 24, 7:19 PM ET
Cowboys agree on deal to acquire Pacman from Titans
ESPN.com news services
Maybe Big D can handle Pacman Jones.
The Dallas Cowboys and Tennessee Titans agreed in principle on a trade on Wednesday for the suspended cornerback.
The agreement, which was first reported by ESPN's Ed Werder, was confirmed to The Associated Press by both teams.
There were so many loose ends that needed to be tied down that the trade was not finalized Thursday.
It might not happen Friday, either. Yet it seems likely to be settled by early afternoon Saturday, in time for the start of the NFL draft.
Sources told Werder that Dallas will send its fourth-round pick (the 126th overall) in Saturday's draft to the Titans for Jones.
"We're still in the process of finalizing the trade papers, the contracts, so it's a very complicated process with Dallas, the NFL, the player, ourselves," Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said Thursday, according to The Associated Press. "So until that situation is finalized, we will not comment on it. However, as soon as it is finalized, we will have some type of get-together to address the situation in detail."
There are also conditions attached to the trade related to Jones being reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and how much he plays for the Cowboys.
If he plays a significant amount of time in 2008, the Titans will get an additional pick from the Cowboys in 2009.
If he doesn't get reinstated by the NFL, sources said the Cowboys get the Titans' fourth-round pick in 2009.
Also, Pacman has reached a financial settlement with the Titans regarding his contract situation. ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that Jones will forgo the $1.25 million performance bonus that he earned in 2005. Instead of repaying the Titans a portion of his signing bonus, he has agreed to make a $500,000 donation to a charity of the Titans' choice within the next two years.
Jones has agreed to a restructured contract with the Cowboys. Sources told Werder that it will be a four-year contract with no guaranteed money. By restructuring instead of transferring his existing deal, Jones gives up nearly $7 million in guaranteed base salaries over the next three years.
Agent Manny Arora told the AP on Wednesday night that they had not been told of the trade by either team, but were cautiously optimistic. Jones has talked often of his desire to play for the Cowboys in recent weeks, even appearing on Michael Irvin's radio show in Texas.
"We recognize the fact of where we are with regards to the league," Arora said. "We recognize the fact he's got a guaranteed contract with Tennessee, and we recognize the fact there's risks involved at this point. We also recognize there's significant public relations implications for the teams, and in fact Dallas has to sell tickets, the knowledge their fan base has a point of view.
"With all that in mind, we've said from Day 1 we're willing to rework our contract. Once the trade gets completed or official, we'll be ready to do our part because we want to play for Dallas. I don't have any hesitation saying we can get this done and get it done quickly."
Jones was scheduled for a base salary of $1.74 million in 2008 and had been under contract through 2009 before his suspension.
The Titans gave Jones permission to talk to other teams weeks ago, and the cornerback had been barred from working out on their property in February. The Titans and Cowboys struggled to agree on compensation for someone who hadn't played since December 2006.
He was the first defensive player drafted in 2005, sixth overall out of West Virginia, and easily was Tennessee's best defender in 2005 and '06. His four career interceptions came in 2006 as he helped the Titans to an 8-8 record. He also led the NFL in punt-return average in 2006 with 12.9 yards per return and three touchdowns.
But six arrests and 12 incidents where police were called since being drafted led to his suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in April 2007 for the season. Goodell declined to ease that punishment when Jones appealed to return after sitting out 10 games and now will only say that he'll reconsider reinstating the cornerback before training camps open.
The Titans gave Jones permission to talk to other teams weeks ago, and the cornerback had been barred from working out on their property in February. The Titans and Cowboys nearly had a deal at the NFL owners' meetings last month, but talks stalled over the issue of compensation for someone who hadn't played since December 2006.
Dallas owner Jerry Jones said twice in the past week, including Tuesday, that the trade was stuck in neutral. But Pacman Jones, baggage and all, is a top cornerback and a dynamic kick returner who can fill some of the Cowboys' biggest weaknesses.
Jones also has been very successful lately offering second, and third, chances to players like receiver Terrell Owens. The latest reclamation project was Tank Johnson, who signed during the 2007 season while he was still suspended.
The Titans might have been more eager to trade Jones after news surfaced Monday night that the cornerback had paid money to a 29-year-old man arrested for a Las Vegas strip club shooting in February 2007 that left a club employee paralyzed.
A police report said that in the weeks after the shooting, Jones paid $15,000 to the man, who threatened to hurt the cornerback, his daughter and his mother. Jones picked the man out of a police lineup last Friday, helping fulfill part of the plea deal he agreed to last December when reducing two felony counts of coercion to conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct.
But he will have to testify under that plea deal. Jones' attorney, Robert Langford, said Wednesday the trade had "nothing to do" with the legal case in Las Vegas and declined further comment.
Information from ESPN NFL reporters Ed Werder and Chris Mortensen and The Associated Press contributed to this report.