NFL: Ex-Ram OT Barron not content being Cowboys’ backup plan
By Clarence E. Hill Jr.
IRVING, Texas — Offensive tackle Alex Barron is coming to Dallas to compete for a starting job. At least that's his plan.
Barron, acquired by the Dallas Cowboys on Monday in a trade with the St. Louis Rams for linebacker Bobby Carpenter, wants no part of the talk that he will serve as insurance for the unproven Doug Free at left tackle.
He has been a starter ever since he has been in the league and his goal is to start in Dallas.
"I feel good," Barron said, when reached by phone after the deal was finally completed. "It's a good thing for me and the team. I feel I can help them and get this thing rolling." Barron said it's his understanding from the Cowboys that he will come in and compete with Free to replace the departed Flozell Adams.
"They expect me to come in and compete for a left tackle spot," Barron said. "I'm going to give it my all and help the team the best way."
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones didn't go that far in a statement released by the team, saying the move was good for the overall line situation.
"The trade brings us a player who, although he is just entering his prime years in the NFL, has 74 career starts under his belt. That experience is invaluable for a young offensive lineman," Jones said. "It also speaks to his durability and versatility — having started at both tackle positions. The process of managing an offensive line is always ongoing, and this acquisition was a great opportunity for our group."
Barron is a veteran who has started 74 of 76 games at right and left tackle since being taken in the first round of the 2005 draft.
However, he struggled with penalties and bouts of inconsistency. He gave up seven sacks and led the league with 15 penalties last season.
Barron was made expendable when the Rams drafted Rodger Saffold in the second round, one year after taking tackle Jason Smith in the first round.
In Dallas, he is already an upgrade at the third tackle spot behind Free and right tackle Marc Colombo — if the doesn't beat out Free for the starting job.
The Cowboys' other options are the inexperienced Robert Brewster and Sam Young after moving tackle Pat McQuistan to guard.
Left tackle is considered Barron's best position. He started there in 2007 and 2009 for the Rams.
Regarding his problems in St. Louis, Barron said they were in the past and he was ready to start anew in Dallas.
"It won't be a problem here," Barron said of his penchant for penalties.
"I'm ready to get this thing going here in Dallas." His agent, Roosevelt Barnes, blamed part of Barron's problems on the losing atmosphere in St. Louis where he has gone through a number of head coaches, offensive coordinators and offensive line coaches. Barnes believes a new environment will do his client good. "He handled the situation the best that he could," Barnes said. "He wasn't bitter. (The criticism) was part of the territory.
"If you are a high draft choice and the team is not winning, that's going to happen. We believe he will come in here and establish himself."
Barnes said Barron is looking to finally make a name for himself among the tackles in the league.
With Walter Jones, Orlando Pace and Chris Samuels retired and Adams unemployed, Barnes said there is a void among top NFC left tackles that Barron is looking forward to filling.
"He is excited because of the expectations for the Cowboys," Barnes said. "He looks at the NFC and sees an opportunity. He has the mind-set that it's his time now to be one of the premier left tackles in the league. There is a void there and it's his time to take his spot."