Monday, April 18, 2011
Position: Running Back
Size: 5'11, 220
Age: 28, 6/10/83
Drafted: 2005: Round 4, Pick 109
Experience: 6 seasons
Salary History and Contract Status - 5/20/2008: Signed a seven-year, $45 million contract. The deal contains $16 million guaranteed, including a $12 million signing bonus and a $4 million roster bonus in the third year. 2011: $4.25 million (+ $500,000 roster bonus due in June), 2012: $5.75 million, 2013: $6.25 million, 2014: $7 million, 2015: Free Agent
2005 Draft Profile From OurLads.com: Marion Barber III - Minnesota - 5'11 - 221 - 4.51 - Junior Eligible. Rotated in junior year with Laurence Maroney. Productive back in a running back friendly, zone stretch offensive scheme. Big holes in line. Many times he wasn't touched until the second level. Generally gets what's blocked. Good sized back who has the speed to turn the corner. Vision to hit the predetermined running lanes. Good body lean. Always going forward. Will hit the ball up inside to split a crease. Will slow to cut at times. Natural instincts and feel for running the ball. Good hands to catch all pass routes. Punt and kickoff returner with good hand/eye coordination. Explosive start. Lateral quickness and agility. Burst to hole and second level. Ability to find the crease and break tackles. Runs behind pads. Leg drive. Speed and quickness to turn corner with zone blocking schemes. Third or Fourth Round.
Pre-2010: Judging professional athletes is actually a matter of perception. It is never more clear than with the case of Marion Barber. Barber was a deep pick in the 2005 draft and while it was not a surprise to see him make the team, it was certainly not predicted that he would ultimately render Julius Jones as surplus. Barber's hard running style and nearly 5 yards per carry in 2006 and 2007 were far beyond that of Jones. In addition, his running style was violent and his mentality was such that it appeared that the entire offense responded to his intense make-up. And, the Cowboys were getting all of this production for almost no investment - a 4th Round pick making near league minimum. At the end of the 2007 season, Barber's public perception was off the charts as a gem moving forward. Then, in a few months time, the Cowboys arrived at the end with Julius Jones and offered Barber a contract that caused jaws to drop across the league. Barber, who had started just 1 game in 2 seasons, was handed a 7-year, $45 million contract with $16 million guaranteed. He went from one of the real underdogs on the roster to one of the highest paid with merely a signature. And his perception changed overnight - as did his production. Starting in the fourth year of his career, Barber's yards per carry dropped to 3.7 in 2008 and 4.4 in 2009. He was now the starter - with young Felix Jones waiting behind him - and the added workload was making some wonder if he still ran with the reckless abandon that he could as a reserve. The passing of time and the change of a salary resulted in many feeling his career peaked in 2007.
2010: Entering the 2010 season, you were given the distinct impression that the frustration at the RB position was more a result of the staff not able to totally figure out how to utilize Felix Jones. Some would go so far as to suggest the most complete back on the roster was another low draft pick, 3rd stringer Tashard Choice. Regardless, Barber started the season with 3 weeks where he still seemed to be the back with as much or more time on the field as anyone. The trouble was that after a solid opening night at Washington, he followed it up in weeks 2 and 3 with 28 carries for 86 yards (3.0 yards per carry). Coming out of the bye week, his carries were scaled way back - as speculation surrounded Jerry Jones pushing Felix Jones to get the ball more behind the scenes - and from that point on Barber was more of an after-thought. His snaps were reduced again when Jason Garrett took over as head coach and he ended up missing a handful of games after injuring his calf on Thanksgiving. He returned in week 16 at Arizona and in perhaps his final big play with the Cowboys bolted off the right side of the line for 24 yards and a dramatic touchdown run late in the 3rd Quarter - only to take a very silly 15-yard celebration penalty for taking off his helmet on the field of play.
2011 Analysis: A player who only turns 28 years old in June, it is shocking to see how fast the life span of NFL Running Backs can truly be. On one hand he is one of the true warriors of this current Cowboys team and has given everything he has had in the tank for many great battles. On the other hand, he has run for 3.8 yards per carry since signing his deal back in 2008 and seems pretty clearly to be the 3rd best RB on the roster. A player who is not an option on special teams either, it seems that he is one of the veterans on this team that is only on the roster until the lockout ends. At that point, the Cowboys can either pay him a $500,000 roster bonus before a $4.25 million salary in 2011 or release him and thank him for his contributions over his 6 seasons in Dallas. I suspect this is one of their easier choices and I would be quite surprised if Barber remains with the team. I would not rule out the possibility of him staying in the league in some capacity, but his time here appears done.
Josh Brent - new 3/30
Mike Jenkins - New 4/5
Bryan McCann - New 4/12
Terence Newman- New 4/4
Jay Ratliff - New 3/28
Orlando Scandrick - 4/8