Jerry Jones told reporters at the Senior Bowl that money won't be a determining factor on whether Barber will be back next season. We'll see if the owner feels the same way when it comes time to give Barber, who is due a base salary of $3.8 million, a $4 million roster bonus this spring. (UPDATE: I'm told that bonus is guaranteed, so getting rid of Barber makes about half as much sense as I thought.)
This isn't about bashing Barber, whose production has dropped drastically since he signed a seven-year, $45 million deal and became the Cowboys' starter. If it was, we'd point out that he's injury prone and disturbingly ineffective in short-yardage situations for a back whose game is based on power.
The Cowboys would be foolish not to make Felix Jones the lead horse in 2010. Choice is more than capable of serving as a complementary back, and unlike Barber, he'd fill that role at a reasonable price. The Cowboys can draft another back in the middle rounds to play special teams and back up Jones and Choice.
Choice's opportunities haven't come often, but he's proven the Cowboys can count on him.
There have been nine games in which Choice got at least eight carries over the last two seasons. In those games, he rushed for 631 yards (5.0 per carry) and five touchdowns and caught 28 passes for 258 yards.
In other words, when given a chance, Choice has been better than Barber.
The dollars aren't the only reasons it makes sense for the Cowboys to move on without Barber.