Q: I think the Cowboys have a great backfield with Barber, Jones, and Choice, but do you think it is a good time to trade one of them for a wide receiver or other position of need?
Bruce M. B.
A: This is a great question, as there were recent rumors that the Cowboys were in talks with the San Diego Chargers to swap Tashard Choice for CB Antonio Cromartie. Cowboys’ reps quickly shot down that notion, and with good reason. Cromartie would come in and be a nickel corner at best, and that sort of upside is not worth the risk that losing Choice would pose.
If the Cowboys are interested in trading a running back, it has to be Marion Barber. Barber showed obvious signs of wearing down last year, doing poorly even in short-yardage situations where he once thrived. The problem is Barber is heading into just the third year of a seven-year, $45 million contract and is due a guaranteed $3.8 million roster bonus. It is unlikely that another team would take on that contract, and Barber’s trade value is not particularly high right now.
Trading away a part of the ‘Boys three-headed monster at RB would also leave the team thin at the position. Felix Jones is guaranteed to stay and probably take on the majority of the carries next season, but his health is always a concern. If you trade away Barber or Choice and Felix gets injured, all of a sudden you are left with just one solid back.
The team could always use a draft pick on the position, but as you alluded, there are other positions that must be upgraded first. The Cowboys would probably only get a second-rounder at best for Choice, so why trade away a proven commodity for a draft pick you will have to use just to replace what you gave away?
Q: Given the high likelihood of an uncapped season and Jerry Jones’ deep pockets, do you think this could help or hurt Dallas, both in the short-term and the long run?
Carl Thomas, Jacksonville, FL
A: If the Cowboys play their cards right, the uncapped season can be an advantage for this team. Mr. Jones, as everyone knows, is not afraid to dole out cash to improve his team. Some are afraid that, without a spending limit, the Cowboys could overspend and be in trouble in future seasons.
Fortunately, there is a bit of a loophole in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, basically allowing teams to dish out ridiculous signing bonuses. This would allow the Cowboys to not overspend on players’ base salaries in future seasons, thus keeping them solid money-wise should the salary cap return.