We have heard for three years how Julius Jones should be the next in line in the great Dallas backs. Aside from the occasional flash, though, it doesn’t look as if that will happen. As you may have read, Dallas will reportedly consider trading Jones for the right price.
The Cowboys aren’t exactly shopping Julius Jones, but they’ve told teams that have inquired about him that he’s for sale for the right price. Cowboys owner-GM Jerry Jones apparently is prepared to hitch his wagon to the team’s other young running back, Marion Barber.
The 2004 wheeling and dealing with the Buffalo Bills isn’t looking so hot for either team. Dallas traded its first round pick to Buffalo and picked up Jones in the second round, passing on Steven Jackson. In 2005, Dallas used the Buffalo pick to take Marcus Spears, who has come under fire for his spotty play (here is a piece from last month noting that Spears was taken eight picks ahead of Luis Castillo, who has become the best defensive player on a superior San Diego defense). Dallas also picked up Drew Bledsoe via free agency after Buffalo released him following the 2004 season.
In return, Buffalo picked J.P. Losman, who has been a bit of a disappointment. During the current offseason, Buffalo also traded its starting running back, Willis McGahee, to Baltimore, even though Buffalo does not appear to have a replacement for him other than Anthony Thomas.
So I guess that anything the Bills do we can do as well? The Cowboys hired former Buffalo head coach Wade Phillips, have already (as expected) released Bledsoe, and are now talking about trading the team’s starting tailback. Dallas would be lucky to get two third-rounders and a seventh for Jones, which is what Baltimore gave to Buffalo for McGahee.
This means that the Cowboys are willing to make Marion Barber the team’s feature back.
Are the Cowboys ready to listen to offers for running back Julius Jones?
The Philadelphia Daily News says they are, which must mean new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has seen enough film of last season to believe hard-nosed Marion Barber should get the bulk of the carries in 2007.
Perhaps new head coach Wade Phillips has also chimed in with something along the lines of, “That kid reminds me a bit of Earl Campbell.”
I like watching Barber and all, but Earl Campbell? Wow.
Incidentally, Nick Eatman says that Jones probably isn’t going anywhere.
Despite the latest rumors that the Cowboys are shopping Julius Jones in a trade, don’t expect last year’s leading rusher to be going anywhere. The Cowboys could always listen to trade offers, but considering the Bills got two third-round picks and a seventh-rounder for Willis McGahee, it’s not likely Jones will be on the move. And it’s also not likely the Cowboys will have any interest in adding to an already potent stable of backs that includes Jones, Marion Barber and Tyson Thompson. Other than San Diego’s Michael Turner, a restricted free agent who would cost any team a first- and third-round pick, the only other notable running back in free agency is aging veteran Corey Dillon.
C’mon, Nick. What kind of fun can we have if we merely return our players from last year?
Big Shot Blurbs pointed out the money that teams have given to some of the Dallas backups who left via free agency.
It’s amazing what some of the Cowboys’ former backups have gotten on the open market. Center Al Johnson: 4 years, $17.5 million with Arizona. Defensive end Kenyon Coleman: 5 years, $20 million with the Jets, including over $6 million guaranteed. And now, Fowler has cashed in.
Eatman points out that the Cowboys may still be looking on the defensive line and in the secondary.