Adam Schefter recently tweeted that Dallas has released running back Marion Barber. This should come as no surprise; Barber's battered body has given the Cowboys declining productivity ever since he signed his big second contract in 2007; the acquisition of running back Demarco Murray in the most recent draft essentially sealed the deal.
Nevertheless, Barber gave the Cowboys some outstanding years; from 2005-2007, he was an absolute beast, who kept opposing players and rival defensive coordinators up nights. Although he never rushed for more than 1,000 yards, he more than made up for it with punishing hits, soft hands, pass blocking prowess and ability to close out games.
Marion Barber stood to make $4.250 million as a base salary in 2011 and stood to get an extra $0.5 million roster bonus. His signing bonus was prorated at $2 million per year, so he would have counted a total of $6.750 against the cap in 2011. Earlier reports indicated that the cap savings of releasing Barber after June 1st would amount to to $4 million, but the final amount will become clearer as we better understand the details of the CBA over the coming days.
But Barber is not just a casualty of the salary cap. By the end of 2010, after starting in 10 games but only rushing for 374 yards and four TDs at a very disappointing 3.3 yards per attempt, he had clearly fallen out of favor with Jason Garrett, and when the Cowboys drafted DeMarco Murray it became clear they were ready to move on from Marion Barber.
Unlike the dismissal of Leonard Davis, Barber's release clarifies things at this position. All offseason, the media and Cowboys fans have been speculating about what the Dallas running attack will look like. Now, it seems pretty certain that Felix Jones will be backed up by Murray. The unknown in all of this is: what role will Tashard Choice have in the offense?