Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is continuing his crusade to restructure the contracts of several expensive players to make sure he has enough money available to lure All-Pro cornerback Deion Sanders.
Offensive linemen Nate Newton and Mark Tuinei, and receiver Michael Irvin already have jiggled their contracts and Jones is trying to crunch the numbers of offensive lineman Erik Williams and defensive end Tony Tolbert to get even further below the salary cap, The Dallas Morning News reported today.The biggest chunk of freed-up funds could come from quarterback Troy Aikman. Dallas' $50 million man costs $4.15 million against the cap this season, although he has six more years that could be manipulated, agent Leigh Steinberg said.
"I have now been asked if I would restructure my contract and I will," Aikman said.
With all that freedom - and negotiations with outside interests who are expected to make joining the Cowboys highly profitable for Sanders - it's no wonder Jones says: "I think I can satisfy him better than any other team can."
Jones, though, concedes his work may be for naught. He realizes there's a good chance that Sanders, the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year while helping San Francisco win the Super Bowl, could re-sign with the 49ers.
Sanders, who already plays baseball in San Francisco with the Giants, and his representatives are scheduled to meet Wednesday with 49ers officials.
"I think it will be a very intense few days," 49ers president Carmen Policy said. "It is in (Sanders') best interest to keep these two teams at a fevered pitch. But I want this resolved one way or the other before we kick off with New Orleans."
Jones said he's ready to make a quick response of a multiyear offer if the 49ers force him to, but says he can also wait as long as a month into the season for Sanders.