IRVING, Texas —The Dallas Cowboys wrapped up their trade to get suspended cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones from the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night.
Dallas gave up a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft and a sixth-rounder next year. The Cowboys would get back a fourth-rounder in 2009 if Jones isn’t reinstated, or a fifth-rounder if he returns then gets punished again. Jones also is getting a new contract.
“To say I’m totally convinced (it will work out), no, I don’t know that,” the Cowboys owner said a few hours before a second news conference was held to announce Dallas and Tennessee had completed their work on the deal. “I don’t know that at all. But I do know enough to do what we’re doing. And I feel positive enough that it’s worth that.”
The teams have submitted all the paperwork to the league office. Formal approval is expected Sunday. The Cowboys are braced for the players association to quibble over the contract, but team owner Jerry Jones emphatically said that won’t block the trade.
Complicated negotiations involving both teams, Pacman, the league and the union have been going on since a deal was agreed to in principle Wednesday. For the Titans, the Pacman saga has lasted much longer—and, now, it’s all over.
“We can’t change the past,” Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said. “All we can do is move forward, and today as an organization, we moved forward.”
While the Cowboys are hoping for the best with Jones, they’re only trusting him so much. Jerry Jones hedged his bet by spending two first-round picks on guys who do the same things Pacman does best, taking a running back who is a gifted kick returner (Felix Jones) and a cornerback (Mike Jenkins).
Like the video-game character, Adam Jones has dazzling speed and elusiveness. He was the top defensive player taken in the 2005 draft and was even better in ‘06, his second season.
He never made it back for a third because NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him for repeatedly violating the league’s personal conduct rules. He’s been arrested six times and has been involved in 12 incidents requiring police intervention. Not all are settled, either, which is part of the reason his status is in limbo.
Jerry Jones said the Cowboys will try getting Pacman reinstated, or at least allowed to work out at their facility. Last season, Goodell allowed Tank Johnson to practice with the team before his suspension was lifted.
“There’s always a chance,” Jones said. “I’m real clear with Roger and Roger is noncommittal to just exactly what his time or his ability to be here is going to be. But I feel good that we’ve got a chance to get (Pacman) here in some manner, strength and conditioning. We have a chance to do that provided nothing negative happens from this point forward.”
Dallas signed Johnson during his punishment for the exact same reasons the club went after Pacman: He fills a need and he could be had for less than his talent is worth.
“I think it’s the circumstance, it’s the person, it’s what at risk—all of those are there,” Jerry Jones said. “I’m not trying to sound like some preacher here, but I have always been one that just because a person has made some bad decisions, do not close your eyes and ears and decision-making to giving them an opportunity.”
The club owner said he’s fully aware how divisive this move is among his fans. He chalked that up as a cost of doing business, saying simply, “The risk-reward needs to be done.”
“I am paid around here and my job is to try and look for more value than is there, if it’s there, than we see on the face of it. With it comes some risk,” Jones said. “I heard somebody ask the question, `How good do you feel about Adam’s future?’ I feel good enough to take some of the risk and do some of the things and invest some of everything we talked about to do it. I feel that good about it. If I didn’t, we wouldn’t be doing it.”