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My Opinion: Colombo will return

Here's an opinion on Marc Colombo: sometime during the next week he will sign a contract with the Dallas Cowboys that is a little better than the current 2-year, $7 million contract that is supposedly on the table. I don't have any inside information or sources; I'm only going on what I've read and intuition. I sought out the answer to the question from the magic 8-ball, but it said "Ask again later." So I did, and it said, "You are one needy guy. It has only been two minutes since you last asked. Because you are pestering me so, I will answer no more questions about this Marc Colombo." Leave it to me to own the only magic 8-ball with an attitude.

The storyline probably went something like this. Before free agency, the Cowboys' priority was getting a deal done with Andre Gurode. Once they managed this, the powers that be, Jerry, Stephen and Wade gathered in Jerry's office, snacked on some chocolate donuts with sprinkles, and discussed Marc Colombo and Leonard Davis. They decided they were going to go after Davis, and would also try to sign Colombo before the free agency period opened. Because of his injury history and only having one good season under his belt, they decided to feel out Colombo's agent and see what he wanted. When they heard the figures, they waited to see what happened in free agency.

Jerry didn't want to set the market above what he had in mind for Leonard Davis' contract. When Davis visited Dallas, numbers were discussed and Jerry felt they were a little higher than what he expected. Davis left for Washington to see if he could get The Short One to go long with the cash. When Dockery and Steinbach signed their deals, Jerry knew what the market was, called Davis on the cellie, and said I'll pay you a little more than what those guys got across the board, your contract will be the biggest. Davis wanted to play in Dallas; he wanted his momma to come to the games, so he got on the first plane in the morning and signed with Dallas.

Now Jerry has some real options in the Colombo negotiations. He still wants to sign Colombo, but at least he has something in place if he can't. He turns his attention back to Colombo, in between signing Gramatica, Johnson, et al. and sees the contract John Stinchcomb signed with the Saints, whose situation was eerily reminiscent of Colombo's. He decides that's a fair number and goes back to Colombo's agent with the 2-year, $7 million contract.

Meanwhile, Colombo's agent has been advising Colombo to test the free agency market to see what's out there. He probably threw out some ridiculous initial numbers at the Cowboys before free agency because he saw the rise in the salary cap and thought the money would be there for Colombo. The Cowboys balked.

Free agency begins and Colombo stirs up only lukewarm interest around the league. Maybe the Broncos, or the Jets, or somebody called Colombo's agent and got the same high numbers, especially after Team Colombo saw the other linemen's contracts, but the callers were not ready to go near that price. Colombo's knee and his short resume lead other teams to think the same about Colombo that the Cowboys did. Except to the Cowboys he was less of a risk, they've seen Colombo work everyday, they've seen his recovery from the knee injury up close, and they feel like he's going to be a worthy starter. But they still have a little trepidation. Plus, there's no reason to spend more than needed.

Now Colombo is sitting a week into free agency, and hasn't visited anybody and only has a deal on the table from the Cowboys. The trip to Denver, as far as I can tell, never happened. Not one reporter from the Denver media reported a Marc Colombo visit. The only mentions of his name are surrounded by descriptors like "could be interested in" or "still on their list of possibilities." Not very comforting, for Colombo or his agent, who must be thinking I've over-estimated his value.

The guess here is that Colombo's agent will take another shot with some of the teams that have shown interest at a reduced rate. He will make a modified proposal; see if it gets anywhere, and if it doesn't, he will return to the table with the Cowboys. Now, he's at a big disadvantage, he hasn't even been able to cook up a visit to another team to worry Jerry. But he needs to show something for his effort, so he gets a little more guaranteed money out of the basic contract that the Cowboys had already offered - Jerry accommodates him with some extra cash that is chickenfeed in the overall scheme of things. Colombo then signs the deal.

I asked the magic 8-ball one more time if my prediction that Colombo would return was accurate, and it said - and I quote - "Those who have knowledge, don't predict. Those who predict, don't have knowledge." Needless to say I'm looking for a new magic 8-ball in free agency, but every one of them I talk to wants at least a four-year deal.

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