While most teams are currently scanning their rosters looking for areas to trim the fat and tighten up bloated salary figures, the Dallas Cowboys wasted no time in releasing a few big names.
Tuesday morning owner Jerry Jones met with several players and told them not to report to training camp because they wouldn’t be with the team anymore. As expected, Marion Barber was one of those players. In addition to Barber, wide receiver Roy Williams, kicker Kris Brown and Pro Bowl guard Leonard Davis are also scheduled to be released.
Barber’s departure will free up $4.75 million in salary cap room, and is obviously the right move. Barber signed a seven-year, $45 million deal ($16 million guaranteed) in 2008 but his production has been laughable since then. He ran for just 374 yards on 113 carries last season after struggling with a calf injury for most of the year.
We all expected Williams to be cut as his tenure in Dallas has been a joke, but I’m surprised by the departure of Davis.
Davis signed a seven-year, $49 million deal in 2007 as a free agent, and started every game he played for the Cowboys. He was also named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons with the team. He has been one of the team’s most consistent performers since signing and despite having a $6 million base salary and carrying a $9.416 cap hit for 2011, I didn’t expect him to be gone, especially since he’s only 33.
Dallas is expected to use veteran Montrae Holland and rookie David Arkin as replacements if they can’t find an affordable option on the open market.
All of this salary cutting means the Cowboys are likely to be very active on the free agent market.