Cowboys Sign QB Cunningham


Randall Cunningham has agreed to terms on a three-year contract worth $1 million in base salary and signing bonus for this year.

Cunningham, who will be Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman's backup, agreed to the contract early Thursday, according to the Cowboys' Web site. He was released by Minnesota last week in a salary cap move.

"We're very happy to have Randall Cunningham on our football team," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a prepared statement. "We feel he certainly a high-caliber quarterback, and has been for many years in this league."

The Cowboys said Cunningham will receive a base salary of $500,000 this season, and a $500,000 signing bonus. The contract also contains several incentive clauses, depending on amount of his playing time.

Cunningham, 37, has played 14 seasons in the National Football League. During his career, much of it with Philadelphia, he has a 79-52-1 record as a starter. He was waived by the Minnesota Vikings last week for salary-cap reasons.

"Along with Troy, Randall brings a lot of experience and leadership to our quarterback position," said Jones. "We feel very confident to have a player with his talents as our backup."

The Cowboys said the move probably would mean Paul Justin, 31, goes to the No. 3 quarterback. Rookies Charles Puleri and Clint Stoerner will also be vying for the final spot behind Aikman and Cunningham.

"I'm not one of these guys who goes in and tries to take Troy's job," Cunningham told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in today's editions. "I'm not one of these guys who's going to stir up things. In Dallas, I know I can go into a camp, receive the plays and have time to study them. My prayers are that Troy stays healthy all year."

Cunningham will count about $700,000 toward the Cowboys' salary cap, according to The Dallas Morning News.

A league source told the newspaper that Cunningham informed the Detroit Lions on Wednesday morning that he was not interested in playing for the team. Tampa Bay, which had offered Cunningham a one-year contract, wanted him to wait until next week before making a decision.

"In my heart, I want to be in Dallas," Cunningham told the Star-Telegram.

He said he plans to fly to Dallas on Sunday and attend the Cowboys' mini-camp beginning Monday at the team's Valley Ranch complex in suburban Irving.

Aikman has missed part of the last two seasons because of concussions. Cunningham led the Vikings to the NFC championship in 1998, when he was 259-of-424 for 3,704 yards with 34 touhdowns and 10 interceptions.

©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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