Hutch Out; Draft Picks In; Arlington Stadium?
Hutch Out; Draft Picks In; Arlington Stadium?
DallasCowbys.com Staff Writer
July 26 2004, 7:33 p.m. (CDT)
IRVING, Texas -- The worst kept secret of the off-season no longer is a secret.
The Cowboys will part company with quarterback Chad Hutchinson any day now, and for sure before the team departs for training camp on Thursday.
Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones Monday said the quarterback will either be traded or released before the team heads off to Oxnard, Calif., on Thursday for training camp.
Hutchinson and his agent Scott Boras were informed of this news last week, prompting the usually mild-mannered quarterback to sound off on the Cowboys organization on Friday.
"No offense to Vinny Testaverde, but he's 40 years old," Hutchinson told The Dallas Morning News. "And no offense to Drew Henson, but that's me two years ago. To me, that's just a slap in the face. That's disappointing. The proper way to handle things was to let me go at the end of the  season."
Jones responded Monday, saying he understood Hutchinson's obvious frustration.
"I know Chad very well," Jones said. "And I understand his disappointment and his competitiveness. And so, personally, that's not an issue - the critical tone on his part. I had thought if we could make a good trade, it would put him in a position that he had more to do with. The effort was to find a situation, apart from the Cowboys, to be the best."
Jones said the Cowboys are still looking at a possible trade with Hutchinson, but for likely no more than a conditional seventh-round draft pick.
Hutchinson, who started nine games as a rookie in 2002, played only in the late stages of a blowout win in Detroit last season after losing the quarterback competition to Quincy Carter in training camp.
The Cowboys sent Hutchinson to NFL Europe this summer, where he started eight games for the Rhein Fire before suffering a torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder that caused him to miss the last two games.
Hutchinson's numbers were less than impressive and he was sacked a league-high 25 times.
Draft Signings Underway
As usual, the Cowboys have started signing their draft picks from the bottom up at the last minute
After signing seventh-round pick Nate Jones, a cornerback from Rutgers, on Sunday, the Cowboys signed their second of three seventh-round picks Patrick Crayton early Monday morning.
And the Cowboys are close to agreeing to terms with the third seventh-round pick, cornerback Jacques Reeves (Purdue), and fifth-round pick Sean Ryan, a tight end from Boston College.
Jones, the 205th overall pick, signed a three-year deal that included a $41,500 signing bonus and the first-year minimum base salary of $230,000.
Crayton, a local product from suburban DeSoto, was given a $37,750 signing bonus with three years of minimum salaries. Crayton, who played quarterback at Northwest Oklahoma State, will play wide receiver and return kicks for the Cowboys.
"That's all we've got done right now," Jerry Jones said. "We're getting close on our other picks."
Without a first-round draft pick, the negotiations should be easier this year, headlined by second-round pick Julius Jones, the former Notre Dame running back.
Arlington Talks Progressing
Stadium discussions are heating up between the Cowboys and the City of Arlington.
Both sides met again Monday, and the City of Arlington held a press conference in the afternoon to announce the city's plan to pursue the new stadium.
Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck said in the news conference he is authorizing city leaders to begin negotiations with the Cowboys to help finance a projected $650 million stadium. Arlington leaders say they are hoping a sales-tax increase will be enough to fund a 50-50 split with the Cowboys for the new stadium.
"At this time, we are focusing our efforts on reaching an agreement with the City of Arlington for a November election," Cowboys spokesman Brett Daniels said. "There still is a great deal of work to be done. But we look forward to working with the city to create a win-win opportunity for everyone."
The exact location of the site has not been announced, although it is expected the stadium would be close in proximity to Ameriquest Field, the home of the Texas Rangers.
"Arlington has always been a great place to live and certainly a great place to compete, with the Rangers being out there," Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "It's always been an attractive place. The accessibility to that area and the future accessibility to that area with the infrastructure that will be in place in the next five, six, seven years make Arlington very appealing."
The Cowboys suspended negotiations with Dallas County on a possible stadium proposal for downtown Dallas near Fair Park nearly two months ago. And while the Cowboys haven't ruled out the possibility of continuing talks with Dallas County, as well as other possible locations, it appears Arlington is now the front-runner.
"There are some other very appealing locations," Jones said. "Our No. 1 goal is to take this time in the history of our franchise and make as good a decision as we can for our fans. Arlington is, certainly, one we've spent a lot of time on in the last couple weeks. The leadership there in Arlington, we've met two or three times, three times at least. Our staffs have met as well. That's an ongoing process."
While the calendar is ticking to reach a deal by an Aug. 17 deadline to place a possible tax hike on the November ballot, the two sides have at least come out of these recent meetings with an outline for parameters to begin negotiations.
Glad They Didn't Wait
Jerry Jones admitted the Cowboys nearly waited to sign Eddie George.
With Bill Parcells still out of town, and the Cowboys scurrying to get the contract completed, Jones said it nearly made more sense to wait until Monday to sign George instead of pressing forward on Friday.
But with the surprising retirement of Miami running back Ricky Williams over the weekend, Jones said he's not sure signing George would've been so easy had the Cowboys waited.
"You think we would've had a problem in signing Eddie George today?" Jones said Monday to a large group of youth football coaches at the Cowboys' 4th annual Coaches Clinic at Texas Stadium. "If Ricky Williams hadn't decided to leave football, it might not have happened for us. That's why you don't wait around to get what you want."