Cowboys are looking into trade possibilities for Hambrick
With Julius Jones slated to be No. 1 back, veteran is expendable
By JEAN-JACQUES TAYLOR / The Dallas Morning News
IRVING – The Cowboys want to trade Troy Hambrick, who failed in his bid to succeed Emmitt Smith as the club's featured running back, his agent said Thursday.
The Cowboys have had trade discussions with three teams, including Oakland, about acquiring Hambrick. The Raiders signed Steelers free agent Amos Zereoue on Thursday.
"I think that's something they're trying to look at," said Jordan Woy, Hambrick's Dallas-based agent. "I've talked to coach [Bill] Parcells, and we're still not sure exactly what's going to happen. Would he like to stay with the Dallas Cowboys? Yes. But if he's not going to be given a real opportunity to compete, it's in his best interests to play somewhere else."
Hambrick, a restricted free agent, has not signed the $628,000 contract that the Cowboys have tendered him. He is the club's only restricted free agent not under contract.
Club spokesman Rich Dalrymple declined to comment, citing the team's policy about commenting on potential trades.
Hambrick led the Cowboys with 972 yards and five touchdowns last season, but averaged only 3.5 yards per carry. He had only three runs longer than 20 yards.
Still, he had three 100-yard games, including a 189-yard performance in a December win over Washington, the third highest total in franchise history.
But Hambrick will turn 28 in November, and the Cowboys would be looking for a younger, more versatile backup for Julius Jones.
Besides, Parcells wants his backup running backs to be contributors on special teams. Hambrick was a good special teams player early in his Dallas career, but he wasn't as effective in 2002 and he didn't play special teams in 2003 because of his duties at tailback.
Getting in shape: Coach Bill Parcells has told owner Jerry Jones that he won't have a problem with Pro Bowl guard Larry Allen as long as the 10-year veteran is in shape at the veterans minicamp in June.
Allen is the only member of the team not participating in the club's voluntary off-season training program.
"This is a unique situation and that's the overriding factor," said Jones. "Bill has told me that if Larry shows up in shape, 'the slate is clean with him.'
"There's a respect between both men, and if Larry plays well this season then it will be a moot point."
A club source said a potential trade with Detroit that would have netted a third-round pick fell through on draft day because Allen declined to restructure his contract. Allen, said the source, preferred to play in Dallas if he couldn't play in Oakland.
The Raiders selected tackle Robert Gallery with the second pick in the NFL draft and added center Jake Grove in the second round, essentially ending Allen's quest to play there.
Interest waning: Jerry Jones said he doesn't think quarterback Kerry Collins will play for Dallas this season. Jones said the club has explored its options and – at this time – wants to keep its current set of quarterbacks.
"Quincy [Carter] is doing great," Jones said. "He's stronger than he was last year and he's throwing well. He knows he's going to have competition, and that's going to make him a better player."
Julius Jones' value definitely just went up.