News broke Saturday on both coasts. Out east, Terrell Owens saw his unemployment come to a quick end when he agreed to a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills worth a reported $6.5 million. Out west, talks between the San Diego Chargers and franchise star LaDainian Tomlinson broke off, which could lead to his exodus from the team.
Owens was abruptly released by the Cowboys last week, just one year into a three-year contract extension that paid him more than $12 million in 2008. The blogosphere was going wild with speculation as to where Owens could find a landing spot, but few would have anticipated the Bills, who have seemingly been lost in the shuffle in the AFC East. About the only thing that was clear was that from the time he was cut by Dallas to the time he retires, Owens will likely be a gun for hire. His deal with Buffalo offers no promises or guarantees other than him bringing the media circus that constantly follows him to upstate New York.
As for Tomlinson, he entered the 2008 season the topic of debate as to who was the best running back in the NFL? Most observers felt that title was down to L.T. and Adrian Peterson of the Vikings. A little more than six months later, Tomlinson is being asked to restructure his contract to the point that he would be paid less than backup Darren Sproles, whom the Chargers prevented from leaving via free agency by assigning the franchise tag. Tomlinson has balked at taking a pay cut and with the two sides currently at an impasse, it might not be long before Tomlinson finds himself looking for work.
Unlike other major sports, where contracts are guaranteed and players can sign eight- and nine-figure deals knowing they will be paid, the NFL is a sport defined by the phrase "what have you done for me lately?" If we needed any reminding of that, we got a refresher course on Saturday.