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Watkins: Cowboys weekend mailbag - Sign Ronde Barber?

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  • Watkins: Cowboys weekend mailbag - Sign Ronde Barber?

    Cowboys weekend mailbag: Sign Ronde Barber?
    April, 7, 2013

    By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

    We're down to two for the national championship in college basketball and while we think about who wins between Michigan and Louisville, let's review our weekend mailbag.

    Enjoy.

    Q: To: Mr. Cool Cat Watkins, with Doug Free being worth $7 million dollars is there any tackles on the market right now that we could sign and instantly upgrade the line? Eric Winston or Branden Albert are available or is that not a possibility? If not a tackle who should we sign if any? Long time reader first time writer. Brandon Fuller (Malibu, Calif.)

    A: Based on what Free did last season, no he's not worth his contract and he most likely will get offered a paycut. If he refuses, then expect the Cowboys to move on. As much as they like Free he struggled last season under offensive coordinator Bill Callahan. The team wants Free to become more aggressive, a player who attacks defenders and too many times he failed to do that. He almost lost his starting job in 2012 and did play well on the backend of the year. When you evaluate his entire season, you begin to wonder if he's worth coming back. Albert was franchised, so it will cost you too much to give up to get him back from a financial and draft pick standpoint. Winston is a nice pickup, however, why get a veteran player. Stick with the draft and get a younger player to build with Tyron Smith on the other side.

    Q: Calvin, is it "Set-in-Stone", that Anthony Spencer will be the starting defensive end? Maybe they can get a quality 4-3 DE in free agency or the draft. This will keep Spencer at OLB. Derrick (New Port Richey, Fla.)

    A: Spencer is going to be the starting defensive end because he's more effective at that spot than playing outside linebacker in a 4-3. Monte Kiffin's defensive line warrants pass rushers at all four spots and this is where Spencer comes in. Spencer played a 4-3 defensive end in college and making the move back to it isn't a problem.

    Q: I see that Ronde Barber is a free agent. What is the likelihood that we could nab him, before or after the draft? I have seen Ronde excel in that Tampa 2 and be a big ballhawk. He could help out with teaching the scheme to other players as well as produce turnovers in a limited role. I'm not sold on Kenny Vaccaro should Dallas draft him. So why not bolster the safety spot with a proven guy that can still produce and bring leadership and championship experience to a secondary that could clearly use it while we figure out what we have in Matt Johnson and Barry Church? This provided he comes cheap of course. Clayton Hice (Oklahoma City)

    A: Clayton, you answered your own questions here: "provided he comes cheap of course." Barber, a solid player on the backside of his career, isn't coming on the cheap. It's ok if the Cowboys keep younger players at certain positions, especially safety. What has veteran players gotten them over the years? I do like what Gerald Sensabaugh provided them at times, but he didn't make enough plays on the ball. The Cowboys have Johnson, who displayed playmaking skills in college. So why not give him an opportunity?
    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

  • #2
    Pass on Ronde Barber.

    I would love to add a "young player" OT in the draft, to build around, but that's no reason to pass on Eric Winston in FA if you have the money.

    Is there likely to be a can't-miss RT as the BPA with our first pick? It's possible (Fluker) but not anything close to a guarantee, and if a different player slips (Sheldon Richardson, Chance Warmack) you are definitely going that route instead. In which case it will be great to have Winston on hand.

    Watkins is a dork.

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    • #3
      Sign this guy...sign that guy...STFU already.

      Draft and then try to fill in the holes.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by BipolarFan View Post
        Sign this guy...sign that guy...STFU already.

        Draft and then try to fill in the holes.
        I agree. You should wait until after the draft to sign a safety at this point. See how the draft falls and if you don't end up with one of the top safeties then go and sign Barber. Obviously teams aren't lining up to sign the 38 year old player.

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        • #5
          For safety, I'd agree. The FA cupboard is bare, and looking ahead you can see some good value in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds who could possibly (probably?) start here.

          OT is a little different. Barring a massive slide of one of the top names, Fluker is the only guy you look at and say that he's plug and play. There are other good OLs available, but they are hybrids like Pugh or strictly interior linemen.

          If I got a 4th round OT, I wouldn't be counting on him as a Day 1 starter. I'd strike while the iron is hot on Winston or Clabo.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mschmidt64 View Post
            If I got a 4th round OT, I wouldn't be counting on him as a Day 1 starter. I'd strike while the iron is hot on Winston or Clabo.
            This. Designate Free as a June 1st cut and sign Clabo. Draft for the interior lines.
            I was on the draft LVE train. I was for trading for Amari before it happened.
            'nuff said

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            • #7
              I hate going into the draft with holes. Too much temptation to reach.

              The draft is for building, not plugging.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Genghis Khan View Post
                I hate going into the draft with holes. Too much temptation to reach.

                The draft is for building, not plugging.
                Generally that is my feeling as well but free agency has slowed down and all the other teams seem to be waiting until after that draft to make a move. That means that most of the free agents you would like to sign now will also be available after the draft. I don't see the reason to panic now. We have already missed out on the top tier free agents.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Genghis Khan View Post
                  I hate going into the draft with holes. Too much temptation to reach.

                  The draft is for building, not plugging.
                  Every team goes into the draft with holes. That's why you have annual drafts. The successful teams just find ways to either mask those holes better than we do or draft better in order to minimize the number of holes they have. But even the best teams in the league have holes.
                  No Pat McQuistan = No Super Bowl. It's that simple.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Plan9Misfit View Post
                    Every team goes into the draft with holes. That's why you have annual drafts. The successful teams just find ways to either mask those holes better than we do or draft better in order to minimize the number of holes they have. But even the best teams in the league have holes.
                    I disagree with that. The Cowboys themselves have gone into the draft with virtually no holes not too long ago. There is a difference between a position you would like to upgrade and position at which you have jack squat (i.e., a hole).

                    For instance, we have a hole at right tackle. Our starter is untenable. If we were to sign Barber at safety, we wouldn't have a hole there, even though we'd be looking to a safety if the opportunity presents itself - we would be able to get by with what we had.

                    I am not talking about being flawless at every position, I am talking about not being desperate at any position. It's a big difference.

                    Filling holes is absolutely not why you have annual drafts. Having a draft every year helps teams build a foundation and a future, the smart teams anyway.

                    The best case scenario is to fill your holes in free agency and build for the future in the draft.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Genghis Khan View Post
                      I disagree with that. The Cowboys themselves have gone into the draft with virtually no holes not too long ago. There is a difference between a position you would like to upgrade and position at which you have jack squat (i.e., a hole).

                      For instance, we have a hole at right tackle. Our starter is untenable. If we were to sign Barber at safety, we wouldn't have a hole there, even though we'd be looking to a safety if the opportunity presents itself - we would be able to get by with what we had.

                      I am not talking about being flawless at every position, I am talking about not being desperate at any position. It's a big difference.

                      Filling holes is absolutely not why you have annual drafts. Having a draft every year helps teams build a foundation and a future, the smart teams anyway.

                      The best case scenario is to fill your holes in free agency and build for the future in the draft.
                      Obviously, you're referring to the 2009 draft. We still had holes. There were positions which required immediate attention which we paid no attention to. There will always be positions on the team where you have "jack squat" for one reason or another. But if you draft well in other areas, you can compensate for those shortcomings and minimize them. That's how successful teams operate.
                      No Pat McQuistan = No Super Bowl. It's that simple.

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                      • #12
                        Signing Allen pretty much rules Barber out anyways. I do want Clabo though.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by boozeman View Post
                          Signing Allen pretty much rules Barber out anyways. I do want Clabo though.
                          Ayuh. Allen was the cheap way out. Plus, Barber comes with a heavy price tag. And he hates the Cowboys.

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                          • #14
                            Not sure how anyone could view Allen as a starter. He basically hasn't been his entire career.

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                            • #15
                              What I'm saying is that this year FA isn't like in the past. It has shifted to a buyer's market. No one is rushing out to get a Winston or Clabo, so you can wait until after the draft.

                              Who is better between those two anyway? I dunno. I thought that Broddus tweeted that Clabo was pretty terrible at times last year,

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