Dallas Cowboys in trade talks; hang onto key free agents

The DMN blog reports that the Cowboys are in the works to trade Jason Ferguson to Miami.

Sources inform Calvin "Lucky" Watkins that the Cowboys and Dolphins are discussing a trade that would send NT Jason Ferguson, a Bill Parcells favorite for years, to Miami. Not clear yet what the Cowboys might get in return.

Depending on the return, that move could free up some cap space.

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Flozell Adams has signed a long term deal and Ken Hamlin is locked up for at least 2008. Marion Barber and Chris Canty both received the restricted free agent tenders they were expected; Barber at $2.56 million and Canty at $2.01 million. Good to go, right? Not so fast, according to Canty's agent:

"Chris was smiling and he likes it in Dallas, but there are still several possibilities here. One is trying to get an offer from another team, which would probably be one with a low first-round pick, for obvious reasons. Another is to redo a deal with Dallas, which I haven't heard from them on yet. And finally, with all these guys get tendered high, there's the possibility they wind up getting traded for something lower than the tender (compensation)."

Drew Rosenhaus, Barber's agent, has also made it clear that he will be looking for the maximum deal possible for his client. This type of talk is expected from sports agents but there is some validity to their points. A player is not completely protected as a restricted free agent and teams could put the dreaded "poison pill" into a competing contract which would make it tough for the Cowboys to match. Barber is most likely safe with his high tender but Canty is not a sure thing. A defensive end of his ability would be valuable to teams looking for playmakers on defense; there are several teams with plenty of cap room that would be able to make a large contract offer for Canty.

It will be interesting to see what might happen. Would you be willing to give up Canty for an extra first round draft pick?

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Jerry Jones took care of some needed business today and signed Flozell Adams to a long term deal before he hit the free agent market. The best news is that it seems the deal won't break the bank.

ESPN reports that it's a 6 year deal worth $42 million, with $15 million guaranteed. As Grizz mentioned below, it will be interesting to see how the deal is set up and how much of a cap hit that Cowboys will take over the next few years. I think that this was a great move on both sides and the Flozell might have decided to take less money to stay in Dallas. If he had gone into tomorrow a free agent he could have attracted a relatively astronomical contract as the top left tackle on the market; if that happened he was as good as gone.

Now the question remains on what the Cowboys will be able to do in free agency with their top free agents all taken care of. I do not even attempt to be a salary cap expert but you have to think things are getting pretty tight, especially if you factor in the Cowboys will have to sign at least one first round draft pick this year. A Jason Ferguson trade would free up some cap space, but other moves might have to be made as well.

Read the Star-Telegram story on the Flozell Adams signing here.

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Todd Archer pens a pretty good piece about Zach Thomas and makes some interesting points about his work ethic and drive. There is no doubt that Dallas acquired one of the hardest working guys in the NFL, along with one it's best leaders. The problem is his signing causes a surplus of starting linebackers on the team:

They have five guys for four spots. Bradie James isn't going anywhere. Kevin Burnett and Bobby Carpenter are core special teamers and don't cost a lot of money against the cap. By process of elimination, Akin Ayodele appears to be the odd man out. Should the Cowboys trade or cut him, they would save $500,000 against the cap this year.

I like Akin Ayodele and think that he is a solid player; unfortunately he may be the odd man out. The Cowboys could package him in a trade but I think the most likely scenario is they just cut him. It's a sad part about the business side of the game.

Nick Eatman talks about the restricted free agents and addresses the Akin Ayodele issue as well.

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Lenny P. over at ESPN talks about under-the-radar free agents.

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Don Banks at si.com has another mock draft. This one plays out the outrageous scenario of Dallas making a draft day trade with New England.

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