Raiders Early Favorite To Catch T.O.

Get your popcorn ready, Raider fans, because Oakland is the odds-on favorite as the next destination for Terrell Owens.

Terrell Owens was released by the Dallas Cowboys late Wednesday, and a stunned nation got the news when Owens texted Michael Irvin. If any of you wiseacres out there are saying "Party at Jeff Garcia's!," you might be guessing correctly.

With T.O. now teamless and speculation on his next move insatiable, online sports booking sites are all over the situation. has listed odds for which team might sign Owens, and your Oakland Raiders have the early lead with 7-2 odds. The Washington Redskins are next with 4-1 odds, but Redskins brass claim to not be interested.

If these online betting sites take bets on what team Owens will play for, will they also take odds on what his next touchdown dance will be? If so, I'm putting money a dance where he whips a Sharpie out of his sock and pretends to fill out an unemployment benefits form.

Even Peter King, Sports Illustrated's patron saint of football analysis, wrote yesterday "What now for T.O.? My guess is the Raiders." And Owens plays right into Al Davis' pornographic preoccupation with downfield passing.

It's a rite of spring every year for the Raiders to bring in one big name free agent who's supposed to restore Raider glory, and it's a rite of autumn for that very player to fail spectacularly. In 2008 it was DeAngelo Hall, in 2007 it was Daunte Culpepper, in 2006 it was Randy Moss, and in 2005 it was Warren Sapp.  And does anyone remember Larry Brown? The Oakland organization has served as a sort of elephants' dying ground for loudmouth football players on the decline.

But all of this speculation appears oblivious to a little factor called the salary cap. Simply put, the Raiders are not in a good cap position. It was a shrewd move to re-sign Nnamdi Asomugha and Shane Lechler, but the two of them alone will count some $15 million against this years' cap. And the Raiders were over the cap to start with.

But both sages and fools see the stars aligning for Terrell Owens to end up in silver and black. So Oakland fans may indeed have reason to munch on handfulls of popcorn. But if Owens performs like most Raider free agent acquisitions, they might prefer handfulls of sleeping pills.

 Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who showed amazing restraint and deference here, not making one single smart remark about the time Owens broke down crying at a press conference.

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