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Barber's contract is the talk of the town in Dallas; top safeties in draft highlighted

Marion Barber’s contract has drawn a lot of interest in Cowboyland. It’s reported that he’s looking for LaDanian Tomlinson money which not everyone agrees he deserves. JFE even recalls this moment in history with the title of her story in Sunday’s Star-Telegram. But regardless what you think he deserves he at least has the right to ask. Calvin Watkins gets it. So does Tim MacMahon.

His agent Drew Rosenhaus was on ESPN recently talking about his contract situation. Basically he said that MB3 is not looking for LT money, which is good because that would be like Tony Parker asking for Kobe money or Devin Harris asking for Dirk money.

Rosenhaus did say they were offered a contract but it wasn’t "Michael Turner money." He also said they weren’t worried about it because Dallas usually gets their players signed. He ended his comments by saying MB3 was a "Pro Bowl" player and "dominant" player who should be paid like one. He expressed the need to meet a happy medium.

I happen to agree on this point. Remember the Cowboys hedged and hawed a little bit with Romo too. They’ll get this thing done. I don’t see MB3 going anywhere as long as he’s producing and he’s done that all throughout his short career. Not everybody showed up in our playoff game in January but he did. I didn’t forget that and Jerry shouldn’t either. We all know Rosenhaus won’t let him forget it.

Drew Rosenhaus. How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

Actually, I shouldn’t say that. My dad’s been telling me to be more kind to people. So here goes. He’s actually pretty good at his job. He did well with T.O.’s contract and Zach’s contract too.

But this memory never helps.

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We’ve got safety problems and everyone knows this. So now is the time to start looking. I’m not saying trade or cut Roy Williams. Don’t even know if the numbers would work to do that. Seems like we just signed him to a record deal. But we do need to be prepared in case he gets hurt. We also need to start grooming the next Cowboy superstar safety.

Pat Kirwan has a great recap of the top safeties in the draft on NFL.com. One guy we will definitely not see in a Cowboy uniform is UM’s Kenny Phillips. That guy is a beast and he might be gone before we can snag him. Arkansas State’s Tyrell Johnson and North Carolina State’s DaJuan Morgan are also guys that tickle my fancy as safety prospects but we’ve got other pressing needs so I'm not sure we'll get them either. But the guy that sticks out to me is Notre Dame’s Tom Zbikowski. He’s a tough kid who's faster than he looks. He never gives up and has a high motor. I wouldn’t mind if we gave him a look in the fourth or fifth round.

While your at NFL.com check out Vic Carucci’s article on the challenges of scouting a safety. He goes on to describe all the tools that scouts look for. I know he’s not talking about Roy Williams but his discussion of the position just brings back painful memories. Hard to admit I’ve lost some respect for Roy Williams the player but I have. He’s an awesome person off the field. He’s a stand-up guy, a religious guy that gives back to his community and that should be commended. But I’ve begun to wonder will Roy Williams ever be the player that he once was.

Key quote:

Intelligence ranks high on the list of qualities that NFL scouts seek from the position. Instincts are also important, but teams want someone who can grasp the finer points of the defense and quickly and accurately dispense coverages and adjustments to the rest of the secondary.

He must see and know more than most of the players surrounding him. He must bring stability when there is chaos. In short, he must be the "other" quarterback on the field.

Oh, yes, and he has to be able to cover a tight end or slot receiver, and help stop the run.

Finding a safety who can do all of that is no easy task. And it is especially difficult this year, because safety is widely considered one of the thinner areas of the college crop.

In the pass-happy NFL, teams place a much higher premium on lock-down cornerbacks, capable of handling most receivers with little or no help. Two strong starters at that position -- and most teams are fortunate if
they have one -- can help overcome other deficiencies in the secondary.

Still, opposing offenses will devote part of their game plan to exploiting any weakness in the coverage ability of the safeties, usually by trying to force them into one-on-one matchups with particularly gifted tight ends. Sometimes teams will draft larger cornerbacks with the intention of moving them to safety, but such conversions don't always work to perfection.

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