It’s official. Adam “Pacman” Jones is a Dallas Cowboy.
The Tennessee Titans officially closed the book on their first-round pick from the 2005 NFL Draft, who remains on suspension even as he is traded to Dallas in exchange for a fourth-round pick the club will use Sunday, plus a sixth-round choice next year provided Jones is reinstated to play in 2008.
With the sixth overall pick from three years ago gone on draft weekend, Titans coach Jeff Fisher said he hoped the troubled cornerback would understand and face his problems because he is facing what amounts to a last chance in Dallas.
“We made the decision months ago that it was time to move the player,” Fisher said. “I hope he gets it and I hope he understands. I know he regrets what he did because he dearly missed last season, and I know he realizes that he is one step away from no longer participating in the National Football League. From that standpoint, I hope he gets it and I hope he understands it. But as an organization, we moved on a long time ago.”
Jones was suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on April 10, 2007 for a string of off-field incidents, including a strip club fight in Las Vegas that escalated into a triple-shooting, as well as two arrests in Georgia that he failed to notify the Titans and the NFL about. He has since accepted plea deals in Nevada and in one of the Georgia cases, while charges were dropped in the other Georgia matter.
It brings to and end the stormiest tenure perhaps any player has endured in the franchise’s history, at least since it relocated to Tennessee.
“As an organization we did everything that we should have done,” Fisher said. “We disciplined him; we suspended him; we made sure that he got appropriate counseling. We supported him. We have him a chance to be productive on the field. It was he who made the choices that he made, off the field particularly. As a result of those choices he’s made, we decided immediately after the end of the season that it would be in the best interest of the this team to move on.”
In order to make the deal happen, the Titans had to actually re-sign Jones to the reported four-year contract he agreed to in Dallas, then trade that contract to the Cowboys in order to lessen the cap hit that would have come from guaranteed money. As a result of the agreement, Jones will forfeit $1.25 million in bonus money already earned in Tennessee as well as make a $500,000 contribution to a charity of the Titans choice.
There was talk and a report that the NFL Players Association objected to Jones turning his back on guaranteed money from his original Titans contract to consummate the deal, but that obstacle never emerged in finalizing the trade.
“I’m very happy, and I know Adam is very happy. I’m sure it’ll be a great fit for him,” Jones agent and attorney Manny Arora said.
Fisher, who was instrumental in the club drafting Jones, said the Titans hold no regrets in losing him, even though his abilities as a player were undeniable.
“You hope that when select a player as high as you do that he’s going to come in and have a very productive career and help you win games. He has the talent level to do that,” Fisher said. “We could not predict his choices off the field. Regrets? Yes, we don’t have the player. We don’t have the talent.
“We’ve lost the ability. Regrets that we’ve moved on? None whatsoever. We had to move on. We didn’t have any choice. As far as the organization is concerned, we had to move on. Again, I hope he has a successful career and I hope he’s productive, and I hope he will take his experiences and channel them in such a way that people can learn from those bad choices that he made. I think he’s on that track, and I hope that he is.”
General manager Mike Reinfeldt, who oversaw the negotiations, shot down talk of the offer the Titans accepted for Jones perhaps being less than what the Cowboys had offered prior to a report surfacing that Jones had paid extortion money to the shooter in the Las Vegas case.
“We got the best offer we had on Wednesday, which I think was the pressure of the draft,” Reinfeldt said.
As Jones’ coach, Fisher invested as much time in the talented and troubled cornerback as anyone in the organization.
“When you have a player that has one issue as a coach, I deal with it. When you have a player that has multiple issues, as a coach I deal with it. So, yeah, I put more time into it because he had more issues,” Fisher said. “But he wasn’t treated any differently than any other player on this roster, because as I said, he was suspended, he was fined, he was disciplined. We have one set of rules here, and there was a lot of misconception out there that he was given this opportunity or that opportunity. That was not the case.”