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A New DE Rumor?

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The Darren Howard-to-Dallas trade rumor has gone stone cold in the past two weeks, as the Cowboys have backed away from the Saints' demand that the deal be completed before the draft.

Another rumor might be ready to spark the message boards and radio call-in shows of Cowboys Nation. The New York Daily News is reporting that the Jets are listening to offers for DE John Abraham. The fifth year end from South Carolina has been upset at his failure to secure a long term contract from New York and was further embittered when the Jets slapped the franchise player label on him, preventing him from testing the free agent market. The Jets recently granted him permission to pursue trades, but the prohibitive cost of two first round picks (think Joey Galloway) was thought enough to scare away any interested teams.

The Jets have apparently decided they will take less than two number ones to get rid of their number one headache. The story did not mention any trade offers, but speculation is centering on the Cowboys and the Vikings as the most likely destinations for Abraham.

The Cowboys connection is clear. Abraham was the second of four Jets first round picks, the thirteenth overall, in the 2000 draft. That was the last Bill Parcells oversaw as a member of the Jets organization. The Cowboys have the high draft pick or picks the Jets would covet and the salary cap room to accomodate Abraham.

The Vikings also fit that profile. They too have two first round picks and lots of cap room. Their defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell was the Jets DC before he left for Minnesota, so he is familiar with Abraham. Like the Cowboys, the Vikings are also in serious need of a pass rusher.

One roadblock to a possible Abraham deal is his salary demand; he wants a long-term contract that is line with the eight-year, $66 million package Jevon Kearse got from the Eagles last year. That deal also gave Kearse a $16 million signing bonus. Dallas would certainly be interested in a player of Abraham's stature. What remains unclear is whether they would be willing to pay his price, in draft picks or money.