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Pacman Jones and the Dallas Cowboys; do you got the fever?

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Has everybody got Pacman Fever? Judging by the results of the poll posted by BTB-regular goodjobtimmyheresabluestar I would guess most of you guys do. I admit, I’m intrigued – the word so artfully used earlier to express the Cowboys interest. As many posters have noted about themselves, there are two sides of my personality working in conflict on this one. It’s like the angel/devil conversation that takes place on the shoulders of "Pinto" in Animal House. Righteous Grizz says we don’t need another problem-child, especially one that seems incapable of learning his lessons. It’s inconceivable that a man with so much talent, with the opportunity to get paid large amounts of money to play a game we all love – and that we suspect he loves – would throw it all away because he can’t stay out of the strip clubs and can’t work up a healthy respect for the rules of society and authority. I’m not saying he has to be a monk, but come on; there comes a point where you weigh the fun you’re having against the requirements of your job and most of us can find that balance. So far, Pacman Jones has been unable to find that line. That’s righteous Grizz talking. (And pretentious Grizz speaking in the third person about himself).

But fanboy Grizz is desperate for a playoff team that actually wins games in the post-season and brings home another Lombardi Trophy. Pacman would certainly fill a need, actually two needs, that the Cowboys have. Another quality cornerback and a punt return specialist. We are desperate for another corner and a secondary with Terence Newman, Anthony Henry and Pacman Jones certainly sounds formidable. So fanboy Grizz is starting to win the war with righteous Grizz. Pretentious, third-person speaking Grizz will now be put to bed.

Where do things stand with the Pacman Jones rumor? You can read up on the similar stories of the rumor here with Mickey Spags, here
with Calvin Watkins or here with Mac Engel. The gist of all the stories seems to be: The Cowboys have discussed it internally and have had talks with the Titans although the time-frame of the discussions is up for debate. The compensation being discussed appears to be a late-round draft pick – as low as a 6th to as high as a 4th – depending on the source. Pacman is still under suspension and Roger Goodell will meet with Pacman in July before training camps open. Pacman’s reps are trying to get the meeting pushed up to before the draft to create more interest and hopefully grab more money.

Let’s start at the beginning. Pacman is currently under suspension. Any team trading for him before the draft would have to take it on article of faith that Roger Goodell will reinstate Pacman for the 2008 season. I think that’s a pretty sure bet, Goodell is going to have to relent at some point because he’s proven his point that he has the power to suspend a player and is not shy about using it. Personally, I think he’s gone a little too far with Pacman, I believe he should have reinstated him once the 2007 season was over. In any case, I think it’s a sure bet that he will be back for the 2008 season unless he does something stupid between now and then. But that’s the whole issue with Pacman, he could do something stupid at any time. If the Cowboys are certain that the suspension will be lifted, then they can move on to step two.

The Cowboys would need to make the trade before the draft in my opinion. Sure, they could do it later but for them to really maximize the draft if they are going to bring Jones aboard, they have to know they got him. Then the draft becomes a more open process for them. We’d still need to get a quality running back but they wouldn’t have to draft a corner necessarily in round one. They would still need to draft a corner, or two, for depth purposes, for the future without Anthony Henry and most importantly, in case Pacman does something stupid. Boy, that’s a phrase oft-repeated in connection with Pacman. But they would have the opportunity to makes moves in the draft – trading up or down – because they wouldn’t be tied to the desperate need for a quality corner that can come in and play the nickel right away.

So once you’ve decided that you want Pacman and settle on a compensation package for the Titans, you simultaneously need to work on a compensation package for Pacman. The Cowboys will most assuredly want to create a package that is low in base salary and heavy on incentives. One incentive could be a large payout at the end of the year provided Pacman is on the roster for all 16 games, i.e. he doesn’t get suspended. They would probably need something like that for a couple of years to truly protect themselves. However they work it out if it happens, Jerry Jones just needs to protect himself on the salary-cap in case something does happen and also provide a cash-money incentive to motivate Pacman to stay out of trouble.

After that, Calvin Hill and the "Scared Straight" crew at Valley Ranch would need to take over and put Jones on the straight-and-narrow. Is that possible? I don’t really know, but the Cowboys have done a pretty good job of that lately with some questionable characters, maybe they could do it again.

It’s all risk/reward in the case of Pacman Jones. I would be nervous the whole time but I would also be excited to see his talents on the field. At least it’s never dull being a fan of the Dallas Cowboys as long as Jerry Jones is in charge.