I was perusing ye olde blogroll yesterday, and I happened upon an interesting post by Calvin Watkins, via ESPN, about ten players whose days in Big D could be numbered. I won’t go into detail about all of them, but I just wanted to add my thoughts about a few that stand out to me.
1. Marc Colombo: We think he’s a great leader for the band Free Reign. However, as a right tackle, his health, knees, and age (will be 33 in October) is too much to overcome. Colombo is due a $2.6 million option bonus. But if there’s younger talent out there in the draft — USC’s Tyron Smith, for instance — then go get it. Colombo is one of the leaders of this team and he’ll be missed if he’s gone, but sometimes you have to move on.
As I said a while back, age is one of the big problems this offensive line faces, along with not being able to stay healthy. It’s certainly a veteran group, but it’s bordering on geriatric. I like Colombo, but it’s just a fact that the Cowboys can’t count on him to remain healthy through an entire season.
2. Marion Barber: He’s not a starting running back. Never was. He’s paid like one, but doesn’t play like it. This silly rotation of Felix Jones, Barber and Tashard Choice has to stop. End it by setting Barber free. He got a $12 million signing bonus in 2008, and he hasn’t earned a penny. Not one. He hasn’t rushed for 1,000 yards since getting it, and his health continues to be an issue.
I really hate it, because I’ve been a fan of Barber’s for a long time. “Marion the Barbarian” just sounded so awesome. Unfortunately, ever since Julius Jones was let go and Barber became the starter, he hasn’t blown anyone away. I actually didn’t realize (or just forgot) that Dallas gave him so much money back in ’08. $12 million bonus? Really? He seems to be always hurt, and when he does play, he does very little. It’s somewhat amusing, and a bit sad at the same time, that he gets so amped up when he does have a good run, because it happens so infrequently, and his big runs aren’t exactly all that impressive to begin with. Something has to change in this backfield, ASAP.
5. David Buehler: He struggled to make field goals last season. That missed PAT at Arizona on Christmas Day, which lost the game, was probably the last straw. He’s an excellent kickoff guy, but new rules — which could lead to more touchbacks for kickers with weaker legs — means Buehler might be out of a job unless he can make field goals.
Kickers are a dime a dozen, but the Cowboys haven’t been able to get their money’s worth. Considering he wasn’t drafted to actually be a field goal kicker, which is unusual, he didn’t do that badly. He was 24/32 on field goals and 42/44 on extra points. The missed extra point against Arizona was huge, but, hey, it happened to John Carney a few years ago, and he’s had a good career. I’m actually willing to give him more time.
10. Roy Williams: He wasn’t involved in the gameplan the last six weeks of the season. What’s the point? He can’t live up to the contract, so a new scene seems to be in order. However, the uncertainty of Dez Bryant’s off-the-field issues, and whether or not Kevin Ogletree improves, gives you pause. Williams has the tools to produce. The question is: Why can’t the Cowboys get him going?
And finally, we come to Roy Williams, who is quite possibly the least surprising player on this list. I want him to be good, I really do. Dallas gave him a lot of money ($45 million to be exact), and he hasn’t produced at a level worthy of that kind of payday. I hope he does something this season, assuming he is still around, because my guess is this will be his last opportunity as a Cowboy.
If the lockout ends and there is a 2011 season, it will be interesting to see how different this team looks. Will all of these players still be around, or none of them? It’s probably somewhere in the middle, which seems about right to me.