Is a Marion Barber Trade Possible?
We hear the phrase “trade Marion Barber” more from fans than any other string of words outside of “trade Roy Williams.” We have long said that trading Barber, even in an uncapped year, is impossible. No one will want to take on an oft-injured running back with a big contract.
Todd Archer of Dallas Morning News took a look at the possibility yesterday. Like us, he admitted he initially saw no way that Barber could be let loose: he is due $8 million this year between his salary and roster bonus and $24 million over the next three seasons.
Archer, though, has changed his tune, claiming that a Barber trade is actually possible (although still unlikely). Barber’s base salary of $3.8 million this year, he says, is workable for other teams. A running back-needy team might just be willing to jump at the opportunity to grab Barber.
However, we still don’t see Barber being traded. First, running backs are a dime-a-dozen nowadays. Why trade for an aging one when you can simply plug in a rookie? With the third or fourth round pick a team might yield for Barber, they could possibly draft Tennessee’s Montario Hardesty or Auburn’s Ben Tate.
Secondly, Barber’s contract in future years won’t be as workable as it is for 2010. Trade partners would be off the hook for Barber’s roster bonus in 2010, but not so in the coming years. Is Barber $16 million over the next two seasons? There is a reason the Cowboys don’t have teams pounding down their door for his services.
Third, why would the Cowboys want to let Barber go? Sure, it would be tempting if the compensation was an early-round draft selection. But it won’t be. Barber is still fairly young and, agree or not, he is a crucial part of the Cowboys’ rushing attack.
Should the Cowboys lose any of their stud backs (including Barber), they would be one injury away from becoming dangerously thin at the position. Possessing three talented running backs is a luxury, but one that the Cowboys cannot afford to throw away. This logic is the same reason trading Tashard Choice just makes no sense.
Finally, Barber is still a capable running back when healthy. He has taken some shots over the years, but he is just 26 years old. He is working on his speed with a private trainer in addition to Cowboys’ off-season workouts, so we know he is doing everything possible to prepare himself for a monster season.
Barber may lose his starting job to Felix Jones in 2010 but, barring a huge trade offer, there is no reason for him to lose his roster spot as well.