Sources: Cowboys seek rookie pool figure relief
11:33 PM CDT on Tuesday, July 20, 2004
By JEAN-JACQUES TAYLOR / The Dallas Morning News
IRVING Whereas some teams have started to sign their draft choices, the Cowboys asked the NFL on Monday to make sure the money they have been cleared to use to sign their eight picks $2,895,414 is correct, two sources said Tuesday.
A source said the Cowboys feel their rookie pool figure could be low by as much as $100,000.
Using a formula based on the number of picks a team has and where those picks are slotted in the seven-round draft, each team is given a figure. A rookie's signing bonus is prorated over the length of the contract and added to the base salary to produce the rookie's pool figure. The source said that the league does not give individual clubs the formula.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones could not be reached for comment. Vice president Stephen Jones, who handles most contract negotiations for the Cowboys, said through team spokesman Rich Dalrymple that he asks the league to verify the rookie pool figure each season.
The Cowboys expect to get an answer in the next day or two.
A second source said the club has told some agents that it can't start negotiating contracts for rookies until the matter is resolved. The Cowboys report to training camp next Friday, and their first practice is Saturday.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league had no comment.
If the Cowboys don't get relief from the league, they might offer their rookies longer contracts with voidable years to reduce their salary-cap figures. The Cowboys spent $132,000 on rookie free agents, one of the highest totals in the league.
George cites Cowboys: Running back Eddie George, who asked Tennessee to release him, said the Cowboys are one of three teams he'd like to join (along with Philadelphia and Tampa Bay). But it's unlikely he would be a good fit with Dallas.
That's because George, 30, wants a two-year deal worth more than the $1.5 million per season the Titans have offered. He also doesn't play special teams, which would probably leave the Cowboys with three running backs George, Richie Anderson and rookie Julius Jones who don't play special teams. Coach Bill Parcells wants backup running backs to play special teams. Finally, George averaged 3.3 yards on 312 carries and had only five touchdowns last season. Last December, George became the 17th back to surpass 10,000 yards.
"Its not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog."
Archie Griffen, two-time Heisman winner