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.