Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cowboys Give Aikman 8-Year, $50 Million Deal

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cowboys Give Aikman 8-Year, $50 Million Deal

Article excerpt

Quarterback Troy Aikman became the richest player in National Football League history, agreeing Thursday to a $50 million, eight-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

Aikman, 27, will receive an $11 million signing bonus and salaries ranging from $1.75 million next year to $7.5 million in 2000. Leigh Steinberg, Aikman's agent, said Aikman is the first NFL player signed through the rest of the decade.

"This makes Troy a Cowboy for life," Steinberg said.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones put the scope of the contract in perspective.

"I paid $65 million for the Cowboys and $75 million for the stadium," he said at a news conference. "Let it be said we have a commitment to keeping the team together."

Aikman had complained earlier that his not being signed could be a distraction for the Cowboys.

"I'm thrilled to get the contract over with," he said. "It makes me feel relieved to get this behind me and know I'm going to be here with the Dallas Cowboys basically until the end of my career."

Aikman said he wasn't hesitant about making an eight-year commitment because Jones and coach Jimmy Johnson have "shown they are willing to do what is necessary for us to be competitive, year in and year out and to field a winning football team."

He said he wasn't too concerned about becoming the NFL's highest paid player. "Under different circumstances, I would have been willing to take less than somebody else, and I'm sure there will come a point where someone is making more money than I am now," he said.

Jones, however, said the salary cap and other considerations would keep Aikman the richest man in football for a while. "The good news is that our fans and we know that we have excellence at quarterback, and we are going to have it for a long time to come," Jones said.

Thursday was the last day NFL teams were able to rewrite contracts without the entire packages being subject to the salary cap, which goes into effect for the first time after this season.

Aikman said he was relieved the Cowboys were willing to keep the Super Bowl champions intact. …

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