Mailbag: 5/8/10 (Alex Barron, OJ Atogwe, Jammal Brown)

Q:  The Bobby Carpenter/Alex Barron trade is going down on Monday, pending physicals.  What are your thoughts on Barron?  Will he compete for the starting left tackle job or just be a swing tackle?

Steven Frederick, Austin TX

A: We did an analysis of Barron’s 2009 stats and a comparison to Flozell Adams a few days ago.  Barron has been about average during his time in the NFL.  Last season, he gave up less sacks and quarterback pressures than Adams, despite protecting for a quarterback who moves as well as Roger Staubach does right now.  However, Barron also racked up 14 penalties–one more than Flozell.  Unfortunately, penalties have been a trend thus far in his career.

Overall, we gave Barron a ‘C+’ overall grade.  Is he an upgrade over Adams?  Maybe, maybe not. . .but he is at least younger.

We expect Barron to compete for the starting left tackle job in camp but ultimately lose out to Doug Free.  Free played fairly well at right tackle last season (we gave him a ‘B-‘ overall grade), but his athleticism and footwork are better suited for the left side of the line.  The loser will most likely be the primary backup to both left and right tackle.

Even if Barron isn’t an All-Pro-caliber player, his addition is important because it actually provides insurance for two positions.  Had the Cowboys not addressed the backup tackle spot, Leonard Davis probably would have kicked outside in a pinch.  This would force either Cory Procter or Montrae Holland into the lineup at guard (yikes!), and Davis wasn’t exactly stellar at tackle during his pre-Dallas days in Arizona.

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Q:  Could the trade with the Rams for Alex Barron open the door for their free safety, O.J. Atogwe, to come to Dallas?

John Coleman

A: Well, remember that the Cowboys wouldn’t talk to the Rams about Atogwe.  He is a restricted free agent until June 1, meaning he is free to sign with any team.  If Dallas is interested in him, they likely have already talked to his agent and will make an offer on or shortly after June 1.

Jammal Brown is a solid player, but unlikely to come to Dallas in 2010.

They could also sign him now without giving up a pick, but the Rams can match any offer.  It doesn’t seem like a long-term deal between Atogwe and the Rams is on the horizon, so it is smart for teams to wait it out.

Despite the lack of activity surround Atogwe right now, we are still projecting him to be a Cowboy in 2010.

Q:  Jason LaCanfora speculated that the Cowboys could have interest in another free agent offensive tackle–Jammal Brown of the New Orleans Saints.  How likely are the Cowboys to acquire Brown and would he be a good fit in Big D?  Thanks!

Joe Williams, Aurora, CO

A: Brown is unlikely to come to Dallas in 2010.  First, he is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cowboys would have to trade for his rights.  He is a decent player, but probably not worth whatever New Orleans is seeking.

Secondly, the Cowboys would have to then sign Brown to a long-term extension.  With all of the confidence the team has displayed in Free so far this off-season, it seems improbable that they would just give up on him by signing Brown.

Further, Brown may not even be an upgrade over Free.  Remember he missed the entire 2009 season due to injury, and he wasn’t all that outstanding prior to last year.

With Alex Barron almost certain to become a Cowboys on Monday, the team is most likely finished upgrading the offensive tackle position.