Cowboys Can't Afford To Lose Barber Now

agents. 

Placing the first- and third-round tender of $2.562 million simply buys the Cowboys more time to get a long-term deal in place with Barber.  

Sure, he can negotiate with other clubs, but dropping a first- and third-rounder this year is more than most teams in this league will even consider. You have to think any team in the top half of the draft is not going to give up a first-round pick for Barber, especially with so many top backs in this draft.  

And even though teams in the mid-20's of the first round might consider it, losing a third-round pick too is probably just too much to take.  

There seems to be some perception of disrespect the Cowboys have toward Barber, mainly because a deal is not done just yet.  

But this isn't about priorities. This isn't a situation of taking care of your best players first.  

It comes down to the Cowboys trying to cover themselves and avoid situations where key players are free to go to another club without much of a penalty.  

Now you can come back and ask why the Cowboys chose to avoid restricted free agency with guys like Jay Ratliff and even L.P. Ladouceur, but those cases were much different. Ratliff was a seventh-round pick and Ladouceur wasn't even drafted at all. So the Cowboys would've had to place high tenders on those two guys, which creates a market value that almost handicaps teams when it comes time to working out long-term contracts.  

With Barber, the Cowboys have some time. There's not a major rush.  

Now, that will change if and when another team signs him to an offer sheet. If that happens, the Cowboys must get to work and figure out the best way to keep Barber.  

If not, there will be a majority of fans who may never forgive this club. And my e-mail inbox can vouch for that.  

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