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The Dallas Cowboys sat out the 2010 free-agency period. Even after releasing two veterans who served as starters, Flozell Adams and Ken Hamlin, Jerry Jones was not tempted to step into the money frenzy and sign a replacement. Consternation and mutterings were heard around Cowboys Nation, but all would be well once the draft came, wouldn't it? Surely Dallas was going to target an offensive tackle who could at least be a backup, if not outright compete for the job with Doug Free. It didn't exactly work out that way. More consternation and mutterings.
But Jerry Jones had a plan, at least we think he did. Maybe the Cowboys just stumbled into a solution. Either way, Jerry and the Cowboys eventually addressed the situation with the recent Bobby Carpenter for Alex Barron trade.
Bobby Carpenter never found a spot in the Cowboys linebacker hierarchy... well, he found a spot - as a spare part. This represented a bust for the Cowboys after drafting him in the first round. Much more is expected from a player plucked from college that high in the draft. To Carpenter's credit, he never raised a stink about his lack of playing time, he didn't turn into a first-round diva who couldn't realize his own shortcomings. He just kept working and hoping that his time would come. It never did. Now, he gets a chance to be re-born in St. Louis and perhaps finally find a spot in a 4-3 defense.
But this isn't really about Carpenter, he's now an ex-Cowboy and I wish him well with the Rams. Even if he's successful there, there should be no regrets about the trade. He wasn't going to play in Dallas with the additions of Sean Lee and Jason Williams. This trade, at least from the Dallas angle, is all about Alex Barron and his experience of actually starting in the NFL. The Rams became disenchanted with the tackle leading to the trade, but Barron has logged a ton of games in the NFL, games where he actually played. Dallas needed an experienced tackle to plug a hole along the line. Whether he wins the job from Free, or simply allows Dallas to feel better about their backup offensive line, this trade was win for the Cowboys.
The scouting reports are all over the place on Barron, but the semi-consensus seems to be that he has talent, and good feet, a must for a left tackle; but he lacks a consistent motor, can occasionally get pushed around in the strength battles, and collects penalties like Jon Gruden used to collect QBs. In some ways, except for the strength part, he resembles the departed Flozell Adams.
Barron is a former first-round pick, like Carpenter, but wasn't a total bust, like Carpenter. He's been in the trenches over the long course of an NFL season, for multiple years. He's actually played regularly, which is more than we can say for Carpenter.
Cowboys fans should feel very satisfied with this trade. Honestly, I figured one day we would just release Carpenter; the idea that Dallas could actually get a player for him didn't even enter into the picture. The fact that it was not only a player, but a player who was a starter in the league, and is still relatively young, seems like a bounty beyond expectations. This isn't to say that Alex Barron is all that, after all, the Rams are a bad football team, and yet they were still willing to part with their former first-rounder. That's a big-time red flag, NFL teams just don't let go of a starting tackle for no apparent reason. We must be circumspect about what Barron can bring to the team. Any idea that he is Flozell Adams of younger days is asking too much. His role may never be more than a backup along the line.
Still, in the end, this was a fantastic trade for Dallas. They got, at minimum, what they needed. An experienced left tackle. And they got him for basically nothing. Carpenter was a spare part on his way out of Dallas anyway, so getting something in return was a huge bonus. Even if Carpenter somehow manages to find success in St. Louis, it won't bother me. He wasn't going to play here. Will Alex Barron ever actually "play" in Dallas? That is an open question. Even so, the Boys probably did better than they thought they would.
Chalk one up in the win column for Dallas, regardless of whether Alex Barron actually ever becomes the starting tackle.