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Should the Cowboys say goodbye to Choice and Bennett?

Welcome to the first day of summer 2011. Here we are with no free agency and no OTA’s or any kind of a normal off-season schedule. The good news is that I’m hearing some positive things from the labor meetings as far as progress. I’m hearing that a deal might be done by the 4th of July weekend which would be very nice for everyone. Of course these are all rumors, but at this point I’m willing to grab onto anything in hopes that it’s true.

Once a deal is done between the players and the owners free agency should start up soon after that. A lot of talk is focused around how much the Cowboys will be involved in free agency. Will they sign a safety? Will they sign a cornerback? I would like to turn the tables and discuss a few players that the Cowboys should say goodbye too.

The majority of things I’m hearing are that Marion Barber will most likely be released by the Cowboys. I guess I’m in the minority when it comes to Barber because I think the Cowboys should hold onto him now that DeMarco Murray is on the team. If Jason Garrett can put Barber back into the role that he had back in 2006 and 2007 I think it would benefit Barber and the Cowboys. Because of Barber’s running style he needs to stay fresh and be able to come in and get that tough yard in the second half when the defense is tired or be able to slam his way into the end zone just like he did during the ’06 and ’07 seasons when he scored 24 touchdowns. Barber is not a starting running back in the NFL. He needs to do what he does best and punish a defense with his hard running. Of course the Cowboys running game in 2011 all ties into the offensive line. The line must improve for the running game to have success. With the drafting of DeMarco Murray I think he can step in as the change of pace back behind Felix Jones. The Cowboys will then have their one two punch with Jones and Murray with Barber working the short yardage as he once did.

Some of you may be saying, but what about Tashard Choice? It was obvious that Choice was not a big part of the Cowboys’ offense in 2010. I’m not sure about the reasons, but he only carried the ball 66 times. Some say it was because of his fumble during the opening game of 2010 against the Redskins. I’m not too sure about that because if anyone should take the blame it should be Garrett for calling the play in the first place instead of just taking a knee. The reasons aside it seems as though Choice is not a big part of the Cowboys’ offense so why not trade him now since this is his last season under contract. If the Cowboys keep Choice he will most likely look toward free agency after the 2011 season anyway so why not try to get something for him now? Of course this also depends on whether the players get what they want in the new CBA as far as unrestricted free agency after four years of service, which will be where Choice is after 2011. Getting something for Choice now makes more sense for the Cowboys instead of having him sit on the sideline and giving him the ball a few times during this season. I’m sure Choice believes he can be a starter in the league and he has done some good things for the Cowboys, but the situation is what it is. Making Choice trade bait to see if any team would bite would benefit the Cowboys as well as Choice. 

There is another player who is heading towards free agency after the 2011 season that I believe has no future with the Cowboys. That player is Martellus Bennett who is entering his fourth season with the Cowboys. Bennett is averaging 22 receptions a season and 234 yards. He is another player that the Cowboys need to look into trading before he looks towards free agency after the 2011 season. Just like with Choice it might be better to get something for Bennett now instead of him leaving and not getting anything for him. The difference between Choice and Bennett is that Choice has brought something to the team from time to time and Bennett has brought nothing in his four seasons. He has a lot of potential, but has not shown it week in and week out. There is an old saying that goes “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. With Bennett I think back to HBO’s Hard Knocks when Bennett would laugh at Coach John Garrett when he was told to do something. That will always be my first impression of Bennett. He is a  guy who just never seems to take the game seriously when he needs too. Of course this is just my opinion from what I’ve seen of Bennett and after four years I believe it’s time for the Cowboys to move on. 

Just ask yourself these two questions…

How much will Choice and Bennett help the Cowboys in 2011?

Will things be any different for either of them in 2011 with the Cowboys?

I believe their roles will remain the same with the Cowboys, so why not try to trade them and get something back? I don’t believe they are the difference between the Cowboys making the Super Bowl and not making it. With DeMarco Murray on the team he can step in and take on that role of backup to Jones. Also, all reports are that John Phillips is recovering from his knee surgery and will be ready when the Cowboys open camp so that he can backup Jason Witten.

These are just a couple of thoughts that have been going through my mind over the last few weeks. I believe it will make the Cowboys better and it will also help Choice and Bennett move on with their careers.

Comments
  1. Kelly H

    I could get on board with this. I like Choice, he’s a good guy and a hard worker and I think he could be a starter somewhere else. I do not particularly like Marty B, mostly for the same reasons you have listed. If they do remain on the team I will support them, but I won’t lose any sleep if we fill a need by trading either or both.

  2. I gave up on Marty B. a long time ago. He’s ego driven and was never willing to pay his dues like Witten did. I think I’d be pissed if we traded Choice and he became a star RB elsewhere. We’ve never given him a full shot.

    • Kelly H

      I think it was just bad timing with Choice. Felix somehow ranked above him despite his fragility. These guys we have can’t seem to get on a roll, but then again they are not on the field long enough to get something going! I think we may have to start from scratch and I think Demarco Murray may be the guy to help us get away from our tag team style running back ways.

      • Kelly H

        But then again, we won’t know anything until they can get on the field and show us what they got… ahhhhh!

  3. Rob V.

    I’ve always liked Choice. From the time he got the start in Pittsburgh back in 2008. He always seemed to make something happen, but he’s just not part of the offense now. Maybe if Barber is gone he will be, but why not get a draft pick for him. No one will trade for Barber and I still think he can help the Cowboys more then Choice can at this point.

    Marty B? No further comment on him.

  4. Nate

    Im not a fan of either. I would trade Choice in a heartbeat. The #3 back needs to contribute on special teams. We could go cheaper with Lonyae Miller and strengthen our ST as well. Sign a UDFA for the practice squad and the position is set. How many teams have 3 starting calibur backs?
    As for Bennett, Im not jumping up and down about him either, however I think he stays because of his blocking ability and the fact that John Phillips lost a year on I.R. If Marty B stays, Phillips gets one more year to develop until he is given more responsibility next year.

  5. rtp730

    I agree with Bennett, my I agree with some of the other readers that I really dont think Choice got his fair opportunity without having to look over his shoulder. Remember his was a Chan Gailey guy from his days at Georgia Tech. Theres the argument about helping on special teams but I think with Barber gone, which someone will definitely give up at least a 4th for him, Choice will be the back we saw in the Pitt game in 2008. I was at that game with about 20 steeler fans. It still hurts cuz we had that game won at least 5 times.

    • Jeffrey Williams

      nobody is giving up a 4th rounder for a guy making 7 million a year…what planet do you live on?

  6. Jeffrey Williams

    The Cowboys should have traded Bennett for a 1st round pick from Cincinnati two years ago; his value is no great than a conditional 5th rounder. Choice may bring a 3rd or 4th round pick. My choice to dump running backs is Felix Jones. He is not a starter in the NFL and the Cowboys head coach (JG) has no idea how to how to run an offense which incorporates the running game. I say get rid of all the running backs (maybe covert Felix Jones to a tight end) and go to the “fun and gun” with our 325 lb. offensive line pass blocking every down! Forget it, we tried that last year; how about we go to the “run and shoot”, never mind, we tried that last year. How about we sell the team and the stadium to LA and start from scratch!

    • Rob V.

      I guess you are pretty down on the Cowboys after reading your comment above.

    • Midnite

      Jeffrey – You’re a Cowboy hating SOB. What planet are you from? I’m guessing Philtydelphia. How’s that Super Bowl Trophy Case looking… lol…

  7. Midnite

    I believe that with the exception of a $500,000 roster bonus due June 3, Marion Barber’s guaranteed money is paid off. He’s not worth the $4.25 million he’s signed for in 2011. Not with an average 3.4 yards per carry in 2010. Coupled with his rebellious refusal to adhere to Garret’s new Suit & Tie travel policy – remember him boarding the bus in jeans, sneakers and untucked shirt – he pretty much bought himself a boarding pass out of town.

    Guys like Brandon Jacobs and MB3 are brutal backs with a very short shelf life. Both of them are past their NFL expiration date.

    Problem with Choice – who I believe is an exceptional running back – is that for whatever reason (anyone know?) – he does not, or cannot, or will not play special teams. THAT has him falling from grace with the organization. It is imperative that a #3 RB play special teams. Else he dead weight taking up a roster spot.

    Dallas has Choice for cheap in 2011. Especially compared to the escalated contract of MB3. Yet I don’t want to see Tashard just walk away with no gain for the Cowboys after the end of the season. I have a tremendous amount of envy for the way the Eagles front office manages to take this situation and trade a player before a contract year. They generally come out of it with a nice draft pick, though they sometimes trade one off a year too early. At least they are getting a return on the investment.

  8. Midnite

    As for Martellus Bennett, he’s falsely perceived as a failure by many. He was hyped as a steal in the draft, and looking at him wearing the # 80 jersey, who didn’t dare see him as a potential Alvin Harper, or as the most famous Cowboy wearing # 80, Tony “Thrill” Hill?

    Then there’s the off-field shenanigans, MartyB TV, the offensive rap video (fined $22,000 by the Cowboys), and clamoring for the camera on Hard Knocks.

    Truth be told, he’s one of the unsung guys in the trenches for the Cowboys. The guys over at Pro Football Focus have a stringent formula for grading every position in the league, each position in different categories. Looking at all NFL tight ends over a 3 season period (2008, 2009, 2010), Bennett is the 3rd rated pass blocking tight end in the league Witten #8).

    So while the Cowboys’ offensive line as a unit has gone from hero to zero over a 2 or 3 year period, it’s unconscionable to think what the unit would be like without Bennett’s value in staying home to protect Romo/Kitna. Bennett has taken 154 snaps while lined up strictly to pass block. He’s given up a grand total of 5 QB pressures.

    He’s not the quiet lunch pail grunt that we appreciate in Witten and Phillips, but his value to the team is undeniable. Phillips and Bennett are both vital parts, especially should Witten sustain an injury. Dallas relies on the 2 tight end set more than any team in the league. I can’t see losing either Phillips or Bennett. Whichever stands up and answers the call in the event of a Witten injury is unknown, and actually irrelevant. They are both vital for depth in Dallas’ scheme. IMHO

  9. rtp730

    Barber’s salary willl not count 7 mill, its more like 4.3, which these days is a bargain for a team that wants to have a rb rotation which is practically all teams. What about Miami?? RB rotation, Brown, R. Williams? Half of miamis front office is ex cowboy personnel. What about Seattle? SF? Give Gore a breather. There is a market in this league for Barber even at his salary, as long as Randy Moss is on the rumor list. BTW the planet i live on is earth.

  10. Midnite

    Running back by committee is the current trend, and the Boys have a nice stable, especially with DeMarco Murray coming in. I like Choice, personally, but I’d be pleased to get a draft pick for either him or MB3.

    The business side of football isn’t pleasant, and you can’t fall in love with a player, which Jerry Jones is apt to do. You have to churn the roster to remain competitive, yet too often Dallas forfeits players to free agency. I’m quite envious of organizations such as Philly and the Pats who walk into each draft day with a healthy selection of picks from trading players away before they can walk away.

    Dallas is in an envious position, at least compared to teams like the Giants. Brandon Jacobs (like Marion Barber) has shown that he cannot hold up as a feature back. Now their stud starter, Amhad Bradshaw, is a free agent looking for a fat contract from the highest bidder.

  11. Raina

    I like choice but Murray is a talent also. I want to see training camp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
    Demarco has always been a Dallas Cowboyfan and was shocked when he was picked. He just filled in for Peterson (for booking reasons) so I just saw a interview with him. He just wants to play football. Demarco we just want to see our Cowboys play.

  12. Derek S.

    I think they keep both of those guys as long as they’re under contract, unless they trade them. Both of them got pretty comfortable under Wade Phillips but I think Garrett will light a fire under both and we’ll substantial improvement.