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Thursday, July 24
Newman will earn over $13 million in upfront money

By Len Pasquarelli

First-round cornerback Terence Newman, the player whom many observers feel will be the most impactful rookie in the league in 2003, on Thursday reached agreement with the Dallas Cowboys on his first professional contract, ESPN.com has learned.

The blockbuster deal is for seven years and worth $33 million. Newman can void the final year of the contract. Between the initial signing bonus and the second-tier option bonus, Newman will earn $13,000,100 in upfront money. That is believed to be the largest bonus ever awarded a rookie defensive back.

As was the case with last year's first-round pick for the Cowboys, safety Roy Williams, the team paid out a hefty bonus to avoid so-called "backend" escalators. The agreement means that the first five selections in the 2003 draft have all agreed to contract terms.

It appeared earlier in the week that Newman might miss training camp, as negotiations stalled, and agent David Ware left Dallas on Monday night without a deal. But he and Dallas officials went late into Wednesday night with discussions and got close enough to prompt Ware to fly back, from his home in Atlanta on Wednesday morning. The deal was concluded a few hours later.

Regarded as the premier coverage defender in the '03 draft pool, Newman deepens an already strong Cowboys cornerback corps. Added to a depth chart that includes young veterans Derek Ross, Mario Edwards and Donald Mitchell, he gives the Cowboys one of the best corner foursomes in the league.

A splendid athlete, one who performs well in workouts but also on the field, Newman likely will challenge quickly for a starting job. He might also be used by the Cowboys to return kickoffs as a rookie.

While his physical dimensions (5-feet-10 3/8, 189 pounds) come up just a bit shy of the league's new prototype for the position, Newman is a physical defender who does not shy away from contact. There were some predraft concerns about a shoulder problem that has bothered him for the past year but many teams, including the Cowboys, closely examined him and cleared the former Kansas State star.

In 48 college appearances, including 25 starts, Newman had 133 tackles, 10 interceptions, 32 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one recovery. He also averaged 26.1 yards on 32 kickoff returns and 15.4 yards on 27 punt returns.

Newman, 24, is an explosive player moving to the football, has great closing burst, and is a self-motivated player who insisted on always covering the opponent's top receiver.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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