Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Player Profile: Alex Barron

Alex Barron
Position: Right Tackle
Size: 6'8, 316
Age: 28, 9/28/1982
College: Florida State
Drafted: Round 1, #19 - 2005
Experience: 6 seasons

Salary History and Contract Status: 2005-2009: 5-year rookie deal that paid Barron between $9-$11 million based on clauses being reached. 2010: Given the High Tender for a Restricted Free Agent of $2.73 Million. 2011: Unrestricted Free Agent

Pre-2010: Barron was selected with the 19th pick of the 1st Round in 2005, one pick before the Cowboys took Marcus Spears and 5 picks before Aaron Rodgers was finally taken after a dramatic draft-day slide. In the spring of 2010, the Cowboys were able to take a player (they most likely planned to release) in Bobby Carpenter and acquire a swing tackle (who the Rams were most likely to release) who they said at the time could compete for the Left Tackle job in training camp with Doug Free. And, why not? In 5 seasons in St Louis, he had started 74 games with the Rams and was just 27 years old. Surely, to acquire a player with that amount of starting experience at that age was to really salvage plenty from the failed 1st Round pick of Carpenter in 2006. Barron allowed 7 sacks in his 2009 in St Louis and the Rams had seen enough. They had drafted Jason Smith (1st Round/#2 in 2009) and Rodger Saffold (2nd Round/#33 in 2010) to be their new tackles of the future around Sam Bradford. Meanwhile, the Cowboys needed some insurance because Marc Colombo was coming off a major injury and Doug Free had never had a start at Left Tackle. And behind those two, there was only Pat McQuistan, a 2006 7th Rounder who had never emerged from the pack. There would be every opportunity for Barron to play a significant role.

2010: On August 12th during the preseason game against Oakland, it was quite clear that Marc Colombo could not handle the job at Right Tackle due to his leg injury and he would need surgery to try to fix his leg yet again. This gave Barron a chance to show he could get the job done in the late stages of preseason - except for his own sprained ankle - and most likely a start or two to begin the regular season. After getting healthy, he moved ahead of Robert Brewster and Pat McQuistan on the depth chart and the Cowboys dealt McQuistan to the Dolphins on September 3rd for a conditional late round pick. McQuistan played over 600 snaps for the Dolphins this season at LT, LG, RG, and RT, but honestly only had limited success as a guard and did not look good at all at tackle. Meanwhile, Barron played in Week 1 for the Cowboys, and was exposed quite quickly as the weak link in a devastating loss to the Redskins. He did not concede a sack in 78 snaps at Right Tackle, but took 3 holding penalties on Brian Orakpo, including that historic final play where he held on for dear life which nullified what was thought to be a winning touchdown pass to Roy Williams. Orakpo started the game over Left Tackle, but as the game went on, the Redskins found who they wanted to attack. The curious decision of that game (aside from the Tashard Choice play before halftime) remains the idea not to help Barron on the game's final play with assistance from Marion Barber when it was clear Barron could not hold off Orakpo to the outside. A simple chip from Barber might have been all it required to put that game in the win column. Because of a 3-penalty disaster, Barron did not play another snap at tackle (The Cowboys hurried Colombo back from his injury), but did play as a 3rd TE in the Jacksonville game for 2 snaps. His 3 holding penalties in 1 game exceeded every Cowboys' holding penalty total for the entire year except for Andre Gurode who had 4.

2011 Analysis: With young Notre Dame RT Sam Young selected in the 6th Round of the 2010 draft, the Cowboys have no plans of bringing Barron back. He has the physical frame to suggest he will be able to find a job in the league for years to come, but it would be shocking to see him find a starting job in the near future. He is unrestricted this spring.

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