No one doubts Terrell Owens will get the next big opportunity for a wide receiver, but figuring out which team he'll join has become almost impossible.
The biggest setback came in the past week, when the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins said no to T.O. The Seahawks were a fit because of offseason injury problems that were lingering for T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch. With their No. 1 and No. 2 receivers' health in question, the Seahawks had Owens on their short list. However, Pete Carroll decided Monday he would stand pat at receiver and not go for Owens.
The Redskins could use another wide receiver threat, but Mike Shanahan opted not to reunite Owens and Donovan McNabb. Plus, there is a good chance that Washington will use more two tight end sets this season.
The Oakland Raiders remain a possible destination, but Owens shouldn't hold his breath for that chance.
After those teams, the market is spotty. It's pretty clear that Owens won't be going back to one of his past stops: San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas and Buffalo. Those bridges are burned. Bill Parcells isn't going to have him with the Miami Dolphins. When the two were together in Dallas, Parcells wouldn't call Owens by name.
Much of the landscape for Owens is like it was in March and April. The good teams had addressed their receiver needs without him. Now he is left with the reality that camps have to start and teams have to determine the health of their No. 1 and No. 2 wide receivers.
The team that suffers the first serious injury at receiver will be the one giving Owens the first call. Something might start happening the first week of August. This situation won't be like Marvin Harrison, the Indianapolis Colts free agent who waited for all of the 2009 season and never got that call. Harrison had slowed down because of a bad knee. Owens is healthy.
Age is against him. Owens is 36. But he'll find work. Unfortunately for him, he'll probably have to wait until August while his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, stays in touch with about five teams.
By Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson
It surprises many that Terrell Owens is presently unemployed. Actually, it all makes sense.
His legacy is set. Owens is an all-time great. While he can be selfish, I do believe that he wants to win and is a very competitive player. In turn, I can see why going through a losing season on a bottom-feeding team (as he did a year ago with the Buffalo Bills) would not be attractive to Owens. Many of the bottom-feeding teams could use a boost at wide receiver. That isn’t a good marriage, as such teams surely want to rebuild with youth. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a perfect example.
Then there are the contending teams, franchises that think they have a chance to really make a run this season. But why would they be excited about bringing in a potential locker-room problem who is also a declining player? At this stage, I don’t see many teams that would need Owens enough to risk the damage he can do behind the scenes.
What does Owens have left and are there any teams out there that are good matches? Few players Owens’ age keep themselves in as great of physical condition. Again, this goes back to his competitiveness and self pride in his performance. Few work as hard and it shows.
Owens still will have his share of dropped balls, and certainly is not the vertical threat that he once was, but he uses his big, strong frame well and is a powerful and dangerous runner after the catch. On the cusp of his 100th career touchdown reception, he scores points year after year. Owens’ skill set also translates well enough to most schemes, as long as he is not asked to consistently stretch the field vertically or rely on explosiveness that he no longer possesses.
The Cincinnati Bengals decided to sign Antonio Bryant rather than Owens. That was Owens’ best shot and he would have fit in well. Cincinnati just chose another route, and who can blame the Bengals? Who is left? Maybe Tennessee? San Diego without Vincent Jackson? San Francisco perhaps? These teams make some sense, but none are a great fit.
Owens will get calls a few weeks into training camp when decision-makers realize that their wide receiver corps is not as strong as they had hoped or a prominent wideout goes down with an injury. I do believe that he will play in 2010, but I just don’t see the fit right now. Owens can still produce in a complementary receiver role. And I think he will be motivated to prove everyone wrong.