Cowboys mull reuniting Price with Bledsoe

IRVING, Texas -- Bill Parcells spent some time getting to
know Peerless Price on Friday, discussing what role the receiver
would have if he decides to join the Dallas Cowboys.
Then Parcells went back to doing something he controls, setting
the rest of the Dallas roster.
The Cowboys must cut 16 players by Saturday, 17 if they end up
signing Price. Because of the "moving parts" associated with
backups who also have special teams duties, Parcells would like to
have a decision on Price before finalizing the roster. Yet he knows
it's not that simple.
"I think he's a possibility," Parcells said. "We had a good
discussion. ... I told him a little bit about our receiving
structure and what I thought he could add to it, some of the things
that he brings that we could use."
Price previously visited Miami and New England. After leaving
the Cowboys, he headed to San Antonio to meet with Saints
officials. His agent, Tim McGee, said they're hoping to have a
decision before the 5 p.m. Saturday roster deadline.
Price had his best season in 2002, his only year catching passes
from new Dallas quarterback Drew Bledsoe in Buffalo. He parlayed
his 1,252-yard, 94-catch season into a $37 million, seven-year
contract with Atlanta but never lived up to expectations and was
cut this week.
Price flew to Dallas on Thursday and went straight to Texas
Stadium, joining team owner Jerry Jones in his suite for the second
half of a 27-20 victory over Jacksonville in the preseason finale.
McGee said the Cowboys' offer was "right up there with anybody
else's," adding that Price is looking for "a balance of money,
opportunity and situation."
"Dallas is a good situation, obviously, with Drew being there,
but the numbers have to be comparable or more," McGee said.
Receiver isn't a major need for Dallas, especially since
Parcells is counting on running back Julius Jones to lead the
offense. Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn are the starting
receivers, with Patrick Crayton earning the third spot with a
strong preseason.
Then again, Jerry Jones describes Price as a younger version of
Glenn and a second speed threat is always a good thing. It also
would be a nice safeguard considering Glenn has missed at least one
game with an injury in seven of his nine seasons.
Also in Price's favor: Bledsoe and players who've gone against
him told Parcells and Jones he'd be a great addition.
"My experience with Peerless was outstanding," Bledsoe said.
"He's an intelligent player. He's got good hands. We had a great
year together. ... I told [Parcells] he was an exceptional guy who
worked very hard at his football. And he's a good guy to have on
the team."
As for the rest of the roster, Parcells said earlier this week
that he'd already picked about 46 players, leaving just seven to be
determined and most of those were either-or decisions.
While he didn't give any clues about those Friday, Parcells
cleared up some position battles, such as Keith Davis being the
starting free safety.
Al Johnson and Andre Gurode will share duties at center and
there's a chance right tackle will be split between rookie Rob
Petitti and Torrin Tucker. Gurode and Tucker deserve credit for
making it such a tough choice as both went into training camp down
to their last chance with Parcells.
Tony Romo is the backup quarterback, making official the team's
worst-kept secret. Parcells said he's gained enough trust in the
third-year player that he may look for an opportunity to get him
into a game so he can finally take his first NFL snap. That's
progress because last season Parcells firmly stuck with starter
Vinny Testaverde except when he was injured.
Anthony Thomas will be the primary backup to Julius Jones, with
Tyson Thompson getting told on the sideline Thursday night that
he'd made the squad. That leaves fourth-round pick Marion Barber
III in flux.
Parcells liked what Barber did on special teams in the first two
preseason games, but he missed the last two with a foot problem.
His chances of making the club depend on whether Parcells keeps
three or four tight ends and-or a fullback.
Newly acquired kicker Nick Novak hurt his case by missing a
40-yard field goal after making a 49-yarder and coming up short on
some kickoffs. While Jose Cortez remains the front-runner, the
Cowboys brought in four kickers for tryouts Friday: Xavier Beitia,
Jeff Chandler, Tyler Jones and Shaun Suishm.
"We're just collecting information," Parcells said.