Courtesy of The Sportmeisters
Even though he has alienated another fan base, the fact remains that Terrell Owens is still a good wide receiver and one some teams could still use, despite the constant headaches and dropped balls he brings.
Even at 35, he still has the potential to play at a high level for another two or three years. But who wants him? We take a look at all 32 teams and decide who should definitely look to sign him and those who won’t go near him.
Should Definitely Make an Offer
New England Patriots: If there is anyone who can turn people around, it’s Bill Belichick. He turned Corey Dillon into a team player and showed Randy Moss how to be a superstar again. With no solid No. 2 receiver, bringing in Owens would give defenses nightmares.
A combination of Tom Brady slinging the ball to Moss, Owens, and Wes Welker in the slot would set even more records than their undefeated regular season two years ago. Add to the fact that this team is the most Super Bowl-ready of any team in the league, and even T.O. might shut up long enough to earn a ring here.
Minnesota Vikings: Another team that is probably the most playoff-ready. They are a run-first style team, but the added bonus of T.O. means one extra guy won’t be able to line up in the box against Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. As an added factor, when Sidney Rice and Bernard Berrian are your top two receivers, it doesn’t hurt to bring in a big name.
Tennessee Titans: Another playoff-ready team (are you sensing a pattern)? Tennessee has QB Kerry Collins, which is a lot more secure than Sage Rosenfels of Minnesota, and he is a veteran who knows how to get the ball in. Another run-first style team, putting in Owens means more open looks for WR Justin Gage, who started emerging at the end of last season.
Washington Redskins: Daniel Snyder loves to throw money around, as evidenced by his recent free agent signings and coaching hirings. Signing Owens would put less pressure on WRs Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle-El, open up the running game for Clinton Portis, and give a bonafide playmaker option to QB Jason Campbell.
Add the fact that Owens would get to go up against the Cowboys twice a year, and there is a legitimate possibility of these two coming together.
Will Take a Long Look
Jacksonville Jaguars: Matt Jones has not turned into the guy the team thought he could become, and they reek of needing a top-notch receiver after signing QB David Garrard to a long-term deal a year ago. They’re a long shot here, but will still entertain bringing in Owens.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: With Jon Gruden as coach, this deal would have been as good as done. Now, not so much, but the Bucs do have a good need for a capable WR. Antonio Bryant is the top dog there right now, but I don’t know how they would resist Owens, even after re-signing WR Michael Clayton.
Kansas City Chiefs: They have a quarterback in Matt Cassel and a decent young WR in Dwayne Bowe. New GM Scott Pioli also knows how to make deals and could get Owens at an affordable price tag.
Bringing in Owens also makes Tony Gonzalez slightly more expendable prior to the draft, as Gonzalez has stated he wanted out of Kansas City. However, should he stay, the three-headed combo, with a QB who has played with a head case like Randy Moss, could see the team easily double its win output from 2008.
Chicago Bears: Another outsider team that might be slightly hesitant, Chicago needs someone who could pick up the double team and allow WR Devin Hester more opportunities for the long routes. They have a solid rushing game in RB Matt Forte and their defense is still competitive. The wild card is whether or not Kyle Orton could get Owens the ball, and how long until Owens would start complaining.
Oakland Raiders: This seems to be the odds-on favorite, as all decent players seem to go to Oakland to die. Is there potential here? Sure, if Owens is ready to fade out into obscurity. I see the Raiders throwing a deal his way, but if Owens is smart, he’ll turn it down for greener pastures elsewhere.
Detroit Lions: A combination of T.O. and Calvin Johnson? It’s crazy enough to work, even if Daunte Culpepper is throwing the ball (for now). The only negative to this is some doubt that Johnson would be willing to take the back seat to Owens after the breakout season he had. However, with teams not being able to double-team both guys, the options are plenty for a team badly needing a few wins in 2009.
Buffalo Bills: They have Lee Evans and Roscoe Parrish, but neither puts fear into a secondary like Owens does. With some Ivy League QBs (Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick) knowing their job is to get him the ball, signing T.O. would be a huge advantage to a struggling franchise.
They’re Discussing It
Baltimore Ravens: I would have had them higher if they didn’t have a whole fiasco with Owens a few years back. Sometimes, wounds don’t heal that easy. Outside of that, this is a team that was already struggling to keep some big-name free agents, so why would they take the plunge on Owens?
San Francisco 49ers: T.O. goes home? It’s possible, as the 49ers need a receiver (Isaac Bruce is on Year 16), but Mike Singletary is a hard-nosed coach who could easily butt heads with Owens, a la TE Vernon Davis last season. Look for the 49ers to toy with the idea of the homecoming but realize it’s not worth it.
Houston Texans: Every year, the Texans fall a little bit short, but it seems like 2009 might be the year they have all the pieces together. Adding in Owens to work with Andre Johnson sounds amazing on paper, but I doubt either guy is going to be willing to take a performance reduction.
Talking Behind Closed Doors, But That’s It
New York Jets: With Laveranues Coles defecting to Cincinnati, the team could use another receiver. However, with the possibility of the team drafting a QB in the first round and trying to groom him, I doubt the Jets would want to risk such a high-profile prospect getting ripped to shreds by an annoyed Owens.
Denver Broncos: Josh McDaniels knows how to handle a crabby wide receiver. He did manage to get Randy Moss back on his feet in New England. But with Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler already on great terms, unlike Cutler and McDaniels, this team has enough concerns to worry about without bringing in Owens.
St. Louis Rams: With Donnie Avery coming into his own as the No. 2 receiver and Torry Holt still in the prime of his career, there is little reason to see Owens making the trip to St. Louis. In a weak NFC West, any splash could make a big difference, but St. Louis has other holes to fill first.
Miami Dolphins: Owens seems like he would fit in perfectly here, considering the team is still searching for a primary receiver. However, team president Bill Parcells and Owens already clashed once in Dallas, and coach Tony Sparano is a Parcells guy. So while I do expect them to discuss it in the war room, it’s hard to believe it going any further than that.
Cleveland Browns: They got rid of Kellen Winslow Jr., so one would figure they’re tired of headaches already. While the combination of Owens and Braylon Edwards is an intriguing matchup, I wouldn’t expect new coach Eric Mangini’s tenure to start off with a rocky acquisition.
Just Say No
Dallas Cowboys: Well, duh.
Philadelphia Eagles: Again, duh.
Green Bay Packers: They like to wait out free agents, which is already going to be an issue as some teams will line up for Owens once the dust settles. They do have Donald Driver and Greg Jennings to go along with James Jones, so they are not in the running here.
Cincinnati Bengals: With Chad Johnson a head case already, and the signing of Coles, there is not enough football to be spread around for Owens’ liking.
Seattle Seahawks: They just signed T.J. Houshmandzaeh to No. 1 money, and they still have Deion Branch and Nate Burleson around. They have no need for T.O.
San Diego Chargers: Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson had a good 2008, and Malcolm Floyd is emerging as a reliable No. 3. They already have to spend big money to keep RB Darren Sproles, and while they’re a playoff-ready team, the chemistry just doesn’t feel right.
Carolina Panthers: They have Steve Smith, who causes enough problems despite his productivity, and he wasn’t thrilled when Keyshawn Johnson was around. With Muhsin Muhammed the second guy, there leaves no room for Owens.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The defending Super Bowl champs cut their losses when guys complain (see: Burress, Plaxico) and have too much chemistry to want to bring in someone like Owens.
Arizona Cardinals: They have Larry Fitzgerald, and are trying to keep Anquan Boldin, who plays much harder than Owens does. Would Owens play three weeks after busting his face? T.O. and Arizona are a no go.
Atlanta Falcons: They could use a good complement to WR Roddy White, but they are a young team making big strides, and most likely would not take the risk of grabbing Owens.
Indianapolis Colts: They drafted Anthony Gonzalez a few years ago to replace the now-departed Marvin Harrison, and with Peyton Manning having a good rapport with his receiving corps already, why risk it?
New Orleans: They have a crowded receiving group in Marques Colston, Lance Moore, and Robert Meachem. That doesn’t leave much room for Owens.
There you have it. 32 teams and where I think they’ll play in the Terrell Owens sweepstakes.