Welp, it depends on what your definition of “meaningful” is, trolling headline. If you’ve drown yourself in enough hopeful delusion to somehow believe that the man who championed the driveway sit-up as a legitimate fitness routine will surface in Seattle, you deserve to do exactly what Terrell Owens does when you insult his friends. Cry.
They may represent the thriving population of the lowest common denominator, but people who expect greatness from Owens still exist. They live in this world despite the fact that Owens hasn’t been a dominating presence in, oh, four years, and despite the fact that he’s been out of football for a full season. They also breathe the same oxygen that you and I inhale despite Owens’ age (38), and the reason why he missed last season (a torn ACL).
Do you need proof of this elusive creative that has a body which exists today, and a mind stuck in about 2006? Here’s a screen grab of a comment below a wire story about the Seahawks signing Owens last night, a story featured on a certain rival Canadian website…
This dude did that on Madden, and his team was super awesome.
For those of us living in a land that isn’t filled with sugar fairies and dancing ice cream cones on a sunny beach, Owens isn’t that player anymore. You know, the guy who was freakishly fast for a receiver of his size, and was therefore a deep threat who doubled as an imposing physical presence.
Now he’s something far less superior. But for Seattle, that might still be OK.
Owens has at best been a No. 2 wide receiver since he left Dallas at the end of the 2008 season. And if we stick to the surface, his numbers in that role aren’t terrible considering his age, as between stops in Buffalo and Cincinnati he had 1,812 receiving yards over two seasons with 14 touchdowns.
But take that shovel out and get just a few scoops below said surface, and then we realize that the most recent reincarnation of Owens was inflated by one outlier game hidden among a collection of other mostly mediocre outings. He had 983 yards for the Bengals in 2010, and 222 of those came in Week 4 against an 18th-ranked Browns secondary.
That’s nearly a quarter (22 percent) of Owens’ output over his 14 games that year in one night. And while in fairness there were other notable games like his 141 yards against the Steelers in Week 9, if we exclude the Browns game he averaged 44.2 yards per game two years ago, significantly lower than the 72.8 per game average he’s held throughout his career.
That’s fine, though, because the Seahawks aren’t signing up for that Owens. Pete Carroll knows that guy isn’t around anymore, and instead Owens represents one half of the cheapest insurance policy the Seahawks could possibly buy.
The contract he signed is predictably cheap. It’s reportedly valued at $925,000, while the contract Braylon Edwards signed last week is worth even less overall at $825,000. But those numbers don’t matter nearly as much as this one: $65,000, which is the signing bonus given to Owens, and is thus the only guaranteed portion of his contract. Edwards is receiving more guaranteed cash mostly because of his age (he’s 29), but he’s still only getting $270,000, which is the equivalent of several morning coffees by NFL standards.
All this means that as we sit here on Aug. 7 with heavy questions still surrounding the Seahawks’ wide receiver depth chart (will Golden Tate ever step up? After multiple surgeries, can Sidney Rice stay healthy? he won’t play in a preseason game…) two fliers have been taken on two formerly elite veterans, and their minimum combined cost is $335,000.
Much like Randy Moss in San Francisco and his contract that’s a little more expensive but still very affordable ($2.5 million for one year), Owens’ value as a player lies in his lack of value on Seattle’s payroll. If he flames out and is either unproductive on the field or reverts to old habits and acts like a grown child elsewhere, there won’t be any lingering consequences.
Risk has been dramatically minimized, with the possibility of reward fleeting, but still attainable. For now, Owens may quite unbelievably get to compete with Edwards and Tate for a starting spot split out wide opposite Rice if he’s healthy. If he wins, that will say far more about the Seahawks’ WR depth than it does about Owens.