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Howard Is Still On the Saints' Trading Block, Nguyen was Never on Dallas'

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The Cowboys are persisting in their efforts to obtain DE Darren Howard from the Saints, going to far as to prepare a long-term contract proposal for him.

The team is insistent, however, that any package worked out with New Orleans will not contain MLB Dat Nguyen. Dallas contacted Nguyen's agent Saturday to affirm that he is not available for trade.

What is unclear at this time is what the Saints want? Early rumors claimed New Orleans wanted a first and second round pick for Howard. Later reports said a starting NFL defender was the minimum the Saints would accept. The most recent reports say New Orleans wants at least a second-round pick for him.

New Orleans faces a soft deadline of 3 pm Monday; if Howard does not sign his franchise player tender from the Saints by then, the two parties cannot work out a new deal until July. If the Saints and a new team can work out compensation, and Howard and that new team can agree to an extension by the Monday deadline, the Saints would gain millions in cap room.

The fact that Stephen Jones is working on a new contract for Howard this weekend means the deal is still very much alive. But the details to be resolved seem fuzzier, unless you're name is Dat Nguyen. His immediate future is clean and uncomplicated -- and it is definitely in Dallas.