Monday, June 2, 2008
Updated: June 3, 5:44 PM ET
Cowboys give Owens new 4-year, $34 million deal
ESPN.com news services
This is definitely not the same T.O.
Without the controversy that led to his departure from Philadelphia, Terrell Owens quietly received a new contract with the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, team sources told ESPN's Michael Smith.
The Cowboys will hold a news conference at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday at Texas Stadium to discuss the deal.
The wide receiver was slated to earn $7 million this season in the last year of his contract, but he now receives a four-year, $34 million deal. Owens is slated to earn $27 million over the next three seasons, making him -- along with Randy Moss, Javon Walker and Larry Fitzgerald -- one of the highest paid wide receivers in the league.
Owens will receive $12.9 million to sign and $100,000 of his $830,000 2008 base salary guaranteed, for a total of $13 million guaranteed. He is now under contract through 2011.
The key to the deal may not be the length or even the money.
The best part: Owens will not be playing out the final year of his contract, eliminating a potentially explosive topic from a team that needs its attention on ending an 11-season drought without a playoff win.
Word of Owens' deal came a few hours after the Cowboys got other good news: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is allowing suspended cornerback Pacman Jones to join the club all the way up to the regular season and will decide by Sept. 1 if Jones can be fully reinstated.
Owens' last few deals have been nothing but headline-makers. There was the seven-year, $48.97 million contract he got from the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004, followed by all the complaining he did about it in 2005. The Eagles cut him, letting him sign anywhere else, and he wound up getting a three-year, $25 million deal from the Cowboys.
Jerry Jones sure has gotten his money's worth.
Owens has provided glitz, jersey sales -- and lots of catches. He led the NFL with 13 touchdown catches in 2006, then had an NFC-best 15 more last season. His two-year total is tops in the NFL.
His success also coincided with the emergence of Tony Romo, who went from backup to Pro Bowler by following the simple formula of throwing to No. 81 whenever possible.
Owens has insisted for months that he wasn't worried about his next contract because Jones always takes care of his players. True enough, Jones re-signed offensive lineman Flozell Adams early in the offseason, then recently gave extensions to cornerback Terence Newman and running back Marion Barber. Those contracts all were quite lucrative, just like this one.
Now that the Cowboys are back to being among the NFC's top teams, Jones wants to keep it that way. As much as he wants to win a playoff game for the first time since the 1996 season, and a Super Bowl for the first time since 1995, he also has seats and luxury suites to sell. The team is footing most of the bill for a $1.1 billion stadium that will seat 80,000 for most games, with a capacity of up to 100,000.
Owens will turn 38 in December of the final year of the extension, 2011.
He's 34 now and in as good shape as anyone a decade younger. A fitness devotee, he's unlikely to let himself go now. His former teammate and mentor Jerry Rice played well into his 40s.
The Cowboys have never brought up Owens' age in anything but a positive light. In fact, since coach Bill Parcells left after the 2006 season, the club and "the player" -- as Parcells called him -- have gotten along just fine. Even fans have come around to the guy who made himself Public Enemy No. 1 for spiking a ball onto the team's midfield star logo twice in the same game while he played for the San Francisco 49ers.
Paying him on par with Moss is another way to keep T.O. smiling.
Owens has averaged 83 catches and 1,267.5 yards over his two seasons in Dallas.
A five-time All-Pro, Owens is ninth on the career receptions list with 882, 10th in receiving yards with 13,070 and third in touchdowns with 129.
He's also the active leader in TD receptions, a point of pride for a guy who was the 89th overall pick in 1996, the draft that featured Keyshawn Johnson taken first overall, with Terry Glenn, Eddie Kennison, Marvin Harrison, Eric Moulds, Amani Toomer, Muhsin Muhammad and Bobby Engram among the receivers taken before Owens.
Terrell Owens has always been there for the Cowboys when it mattered most. In two seasons in Dallas, Owens has nabbed 166 receptions. Twenty-eight of those have been for scores, which ranks tops in the NFL.
Last Two Seasons
*Led NFC each of last two seasons
Michael Smith covers the NFL for ESPN. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.