No news was no news today on the possible Darren Howard-to-Dallas trade. What little emerges from New Orleans adds to the confusion about compensation; the New Orleans Times-Picayune now claims the Saints want either MLB Dat Nguyen or a "high draft pick" for Howard. With Dallas putting Nguyen off limits, a pick will be needed to make the deal happen.
But what is a high pick? One of the Cowboys two number ones? The high second round pick? With the deadline fast approaching for New Orleans to deal Howard and gain cap space, the question will probably be resolved soon.
So here' s the question to ponder: if you're Jerry Jones how much, if anything, would you give up to get Darren Howard?
Update: Monday afternoon, Clarence Hill of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram told 103.3 FM, the ESPN Radio affiliate in Dallas that talks between the Saints and Cowboys continue. He confirmed speculation on this comment thread that Dallas is the only team still showing serious interest in Howard. For this reason, Dallas is holding out for lower compensation. It was Hill's opinion that New Orleans would have to settle for a second round pick, despite earlier efforts to coax Dat Nguyen and/or a first round pick from Dallas. He put the odds of a deal occuring at better than 50%.
-- Paul Shepard
Tuesday Update: Darren Howard signed his tender offer from the Saints, guaranteeing him a 2005 salary of $7.8 million if he is not traded. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Cowboys continue to work with Howard's agent on a contract extension and with the Saints on a deal.
Correction: The deadline for New Orleans to reach agreement with Howard on an extension or a trade was not in fact Monday, as was claimed on this blog and here. That deadline is in fact Wednesday at 3 pm, the two week point of the new NFL year. Thanks to Paul Shepard for noting the correct deadline.