Cap woes may end Terrell Owens's days as a 49er
Since the salary cap was instituted in 1993, no team has done a better job of crunching the numbers than the 49ers. "We never cared too much about tomorrow," says former San Francisco director of football operations Dwight Clark. "We always figured that would take care of itself."
The man behind the manipulation, club president Carmen Policy, left his Niners post last July to run the expansion Browns and took Clark with him. If Policy were still in San Francisco, even he might have trouble beating the system this year. The 49ers are $23 million over the projected 1999 cap of $58 million.
The Niners' front office is in disarray—owner Eddie DeBartolo is awaiting reinstatement by NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, interim president Larry Thrailkill abruptly resigned last Saturday and former Niners coach Bill Walsh is expected to return to the team in an executive role—and the club must find a way to re-sign several key players, notably restricted free-agent wideout Terrell Owens. San Francisco would have the opportunity to match any offer to Owens, but expect a receiver-needy team (the Dolphins come to mind) to offer him a front-loaded contract that will be difficult for the Niners to match.
After a 20-18 NFC divisional playoff loss to the Falcons last Saturday, Owens said he hoped he hadn't played his last game as a Niner. "I would love to stay," he said, "but it's up to those guys in the front office."
Now if he can just figure out who's in charge.
Seahawks Step Up
Holmgren Gets The Moon
Bob LaMonte, the agent for Mike Holmgren, didn't have many cards to play as he talked with the Seahawks about their general manager-coach position. While there were several coaching jobs open, few came with the front-office clout that was required to get his client out of his Packers contract. LaMonte, however, held one valuable trump card: the private jet that Ravens owner Art Modell had sitting on the tarmac at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport last Friday morning, ready to whisk Holmgren to Baltimore.
Seattle was the most talented team without a coach, and once the club's eight-year offer with total football control got north of $4 million a year, Holmgren's mind was made up. "If you ask for the world, and they give you the sun and the moon and the stars as well, why get on a plane?" says LaMonte.
Minnesota Tackle Re-ups
Did Stringer Get A Raw Deal?