With the Dallas Cowboys’ 2008 season, which was presumably resurrected after knocking off a twin-pack of NFC West Twinkies at home in four days, now teetering on the edge of the abyss after blowing a ten-point lead with less than seven minutes to play at Pittsburgh on Sunday, owner Jerry Jones focused his most candid remarks on a guy who wasn’t even there to contribute to the debacle.
Jones has, in essence, declared to the world that he thinks Marion Barber, a bruising bull of a tailback, is a big sissy.
“He can play with that injured toe,” Jones said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “He can play with the soreness and a combination of those things. I see nothing that led us to believe he couldn’t.”
Meanwhile, Jones praised rookie running back Tashard Choice, who generated 166 total yards against the Steelers on Sunday.
“Tashard might have added a plus,” Jones said. “I don’t think we lost any slack there.”
As we point out in this week’s Ten-Pack for SportingNews.com (the column is not yet live, and the anticipation for it is now palpable . . . if Webster’s has an alternative definition for “palpable” that includes “non-existent”), the emergence of Choice and the presence of Barber and rookie first-rounder Felix Jones could give the team some trade bait in the offseason.
Indeed, Jones’ comments likely will prompt some teams to start calling in February about the availability of Barber.
The cap consequences of trading Barber, who signed a long-term deal earlier this year, aren’t presently known. Regardless of the timing of the trade, the entire cap charge would hit the books next season, since 2009 is the last capped year under the current CBA.
So if the acceleration is prohibitive, then it arguably wasn’t all that prudent for Jones to risk creating a problem with a player who could screw up team chemistry in the coming year even more than team chemistry already is screwed up right now.
Then again, given that Barber was drafted by Bill Parcells and that Felix Jones and Choice came after Parcells left town and then a year later raided the front office, our guess is that Jerry Jones would prefer to load the 2009 backfield with Felix Jones and Choice, since both players were added by the current regime.