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Decisions and more decisions for the Cowboys

Update:  Here's another possible veteran linebacking option to consider:  The Falcons may release long-time LB Keith Brooking later this month.  The 33 year old Brooking has been a mainstay on the Falcons D since he was taken 12th overall in the '98 draft but may have overstayed his contract -- he's due to make over $8M this year and is due a $1M roster bonus on February 23rd.

He's no longer the all-around monster who made five consecutive Pro Bowls between 2001 and 2005, but he may still have what it takes to provide a relatively low-cost upgrade over Zach Thomas, should the Cowboys find the free agent ILB talent pool depleted in the next two weeks.

Brooking has played WOLB in the Falcons 4-3 lately, but consider that his two best statistical seasons came in 2002 and 2003, when Wade Phillips ran a 3-4  scheme for Dan Reeves.  In those years Brooking played left inside linebacker.  Brooking  no longer has the wheels to play in space, but he's listed between 240 and 245 lbs., depending on where you look, and may have the smarts and size to provide productive 1st and 2nd down play in Phillips' scheme.

He won't cost as much as Ray Lewis, that's for certain. 

-- Rafael Vela

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Ray Ray from Baltimore seems to be all the rage lately. Clarence E. Hill slips into blog mode for an opinion piece on the Cowboys signing Lewis. He says do it. I'm of the opinion that we won't have the opportunity because Baltimore will do everything they can to get their iconic LB locked up before he hits the market. As Raf notes below, the combine is when the Ravens and Ray's people are to meet and try to hammer out a deal. Calvin Watkins reports that T.O. and Deion have pitched signing Ray to Jerry. If you're a ‘Lewis to Dallas' fan, keep your eyes on the combine next week to see how the negotiations go.

Make the jump for hi-jinks around trading T.O., questions about the trade for RW2 and the issues on tendering Miles Austin and Stephen Bowen.

The Internet is a fun place. A couple of days ago Mike Lombardi posted his opinion that Dallas was going to release or trade T.O. He even went as far as to speculate about a possible trade partner, the Raiders. Now, thanks to the magic of the Internet, it's become a ‘rumor'. The USA Today blog, some other website, a Raiders blog, and even Yahoo Sports, all make reference to a "rumored" T.O. to the Raiders deal.

We've even got a Raider beat writer answering questions about it.

It's all conjecture, but Raiders beat write Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times said in a chat Tuesday it's possible:

"Terrell Owens has Raider written all over him, and Al Davis is the kind of owner who would allow Owens to be the person he is as long as he produces in games."

It's even spilled over to the Bears. 

Congrats Mike Lombardi. You casually speculated on a trade for T.O. and didn't even try to disguise it as anything more than a thought from your own head, and it's now becoming a ‘rumor' on the Internet. Rock on.

For pro-T.O. guys, Yahoo Sports writer Charles Robinson makes the case. 

Will Terrell Owens be a Cowboy during the '09 season?

Considering the amount of time everyone in the franchise will have to get a grip, he'll likely be back. Here is why: The team will have until June to make its decision, because Owens isn't due his $3.1 million roster bonus until that point. That's plenty of time for owner Jerry Jones and coach Wade Phillips to mend fences, and come to realize that the offense is still at its best with Owens on the roster. Perhaps if wideout Roy Williams had factored in more down the stretch last season, the thought process would be different. But Dallas will look at the books and realize that with only $10 million in salary cap space, cutting Owens would actually cost them $680,000, which is a double negative - removing a talented (albeit corrosive) player, and costing the franchise additional cap room that could provide it a little extra depth.

Only one problem with that line of reasoning - the Cowboys can technically wait until June to make a decision but in reality that decision has to come much sooner. They need to know what they're doing by the draft. Before free agency kicks off would be ideal. If you're going to keep him or move him, you should know before you work your whole offseason personnel program.

T.O. will be participating in the NBA All-Star weekend celebrity game. 

No matter what happens with T.O. in the offseason, the Cowboys have another WR drawing attention. Basically, RW2 cost the Cowboys a first and a third-round draft pick. His play from just half of the season certainly didn't warrant that kind of bounty. But the decision on whether the Cowboys did the right thing long-term won't be decided until we've gone a few years with RW2 integrated into the team. But Mike Mayock offers up his opinion via the DMN blog

"Roy Williams is a pretty good football player,'' Mayock said in a conference call. "To think you're going to get a guy who can be as productive as him [with the 20th overall pick], that's a little bit of a leap of faith. [Michael] Crabtree and [Jeremy] Maclin are going to be gone. [Darrius] Heyward-Bay is probably gone, too. Percy Harvin maybe, but he reminds me more of Reggie Bush than a traditional receiver.

"That's the long way of saying I think they're pretty good with Roy Williams.''

The DMN blogs notes that Eddie Royal, DeSean Jackson and Donny Avery were all second round picks at WR from last year that look to be pretty good choices.

Miles Austin is a RFA that I'm sure Dallas wants to keep. Todd Archer suggests a second-round tender from the ‘Boys. 

Because Austin was not drafted, he would be a prime target among teams if the Cowboys offer him the original tender, worth $1.010 million. A team would not have to give up any compensation to get him. But with the second round tender ($1.545 million) teams would not be so willing to give up that high of a pick.

The other question mark that Archer raises is Stephen Bowen. He's also an undrafted RFA. He could spark interest from other teams. Chris Canty's uncertain future in Dallas raises the question of tendering Bowen at the second round level, too.

What do you think?


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