The Cowboys were expected to give Marion Barber the highest tender $2.56 million, which would merit compensation of first and third round draft picks. It seems that Jerry has gone the unexpected route, according the Star-Telegram:
Contrary to earlier reports, the Cowboys will give Barber a first-round tender at $2.017 million, which would net them a first-round pick if he goes to another team, rather than the high tender of $2.56 million, which would have returned a first- and third-round pick.
There are many possible reasons for this move and the best one can do is speculate. It could be a salary cap issue or Jerry might be setting himself up to make a play at a top draft pick. We won't know right away though and it will be interesting to read what the media makes of it. If nothing else it just adds fuel to the rumor fires already burning.
Hat tip to deke for posting the story in his diary.
The Cowboys will also be looking for another running back to work with Marion Barber and Michael Turner could be the someone the Cowboys target:
Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips is well-versed with what Turner can do, having spent three years in San Diego as defensive coordinator and going against him in practice.
With Dallas running back Julius Jones expected to hit the open market after he was replaced by Marion Barber as the starter in the playoffs, the Cowboys could have interest in Turner if they hope to reprise their largely successful two-back system.
Free agency starts tomorrow night and the Cowboys top priority remains re-signing Flozell Adams. Dallas had the choice of franchising Adams but opted instead to give that honor to Ken Hamlin. If the Cowboys fail to reach an agreement with Adams he will hit the market and will garner plenty of interest from around the league. Rob Phillips over at dc.com makes an interesting observation about the last time Adams faced free agency:
The Cowboys and Adams actually didn't complete his previous five-year, $25 million deal until after the free-agent signing period began back in 2003. Both sides worked feverishly to hammer out a deal by that Friday, some 15 hours after the Cowboys technically lost their exclusive negotiating rights.
I think the Cowboys are interested to find out what his market value will be in free agency and will make their offer based on that. Adams' signing will affect how the Cowboys approach the rest of free agency and it will be intriguing to see what happens.
Todd Archer at the Dallas Morning News once again emphasizes what might happen if Adams leaves:
And the Cowboys would be left with a hole at left tackle, although owner and general manager Jerry Jones has said Leonard Davis could move from right guard to left tackle, where he played some in Arizona. Pat McQuistan and Doug Free would be other possibilities.
Let me just say that moving Leonard Davis to LT would be the one of the worst moves Jerry the GM could possible make.
JJT makes a great point about making a giant trade to move up in the draft:
If Jerry will just take the best skill position players available with the 22nd and 28th picks in the first round, then he will get the young players he needs at wide receiver and running back to make sure the Cowboys have offensive firepower for years.
Randy Moss is will not hit the free agent market and I am not sad to say that. While it might look nice on paper, bringing Moss to Dallas would have been a horrible move for team chemistry.
Randy Moss is off the table but the possibility of the Cowboys making a play for Javon Walker is still there. Matt Mosely has some inside information that the Cowboys are showing interest in the disgruntled Denver receiver:
I just talked to someone with the Cowboys organization who said the club was interested in Broncos wide receiver Javon Walker. The Broncos would like to move Walker in a trade, but it's hard to imagine that the Cowboys would give up anything of value for a disgruntled player who is coming off an injury-plagued season.