Marion Barber: Dallas Cowboys' "Barbarian" Could Be Axed This Offseason

Alex Hall@@AlexKHallCorrespondent IIIMarch 11, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 25:  Runningback Marion Barber #24 of the Dallas Cowboys walks the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 25, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 27-26.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

When Marion "The Barbarian" Barber burst onto the gridiron after a respectable run with the University of Minnesota, Cowboys fans believed they were witnessing the next great running back to grace Dallas' backfield.

Barber's bone-crushing, downfield style of running is one that brought smiles to many in the old Texas Stadium, as he recorded back-to-back double-digit touchdown seasons in 2006 and 2007.

However, since Jerry Jones and the 'Boys drafted former Arkansas Razorback Felix Jones a few season ago, there have been questions as to what to do with the former feature back for Dallas.

Barber's highest rushing total in a game last season was 58 against Arizona in Week 16, and he finished the season with a putrid 374 yards rushing for the season. Given the man was sidelined for three straight weeks, this statistic is troubling to both the Cowboys front office as well as the fans.

Though this is his first season with such unproductive numbers, it couldn't have come at a worse time for Barber due to the amount of talent on the running back depth chart for "Big D."

Tashard Choice had a similarly down year compared to the 2009 season, when he gained the trust of the team's fan base, but at least he can say he ran for 100 yards in a game last season.

From a business standpoint, he's also the cheaper option to keep on the squad. Barber is due $500,000 come June, and there have been murmurs coming out of Dallas that Jerry Jones has no intention of signing that check.

With the downfall of Barber last season, fans witnessed their team's 2008 first-round pick take over the reins at the feature back spot on the roster.

The Cowboys rushing attack was far from explosive in 2010, finishing a mediocre 16th in rushing out of the 32 NFL teams, but Felix Jones was by far the most consistent back on the Dallas roster. The last three weeks of the season Jones posted at least 70 rushing yards in each game played, and he rushed for 800 yards total last season (more than Barber and Choice combined).

Barber's status with the 'Boys is very much up in the air at this point, with many believing he's seen his last hand off from Tony Romo.

There is speculation that Dallas is shooting for a running back in the early rounds of the draft, further dimming the chances of Barber suiting up for America's Team in 2011 (if there is a 2011 season), but it would be fair to see if the man once called "The Barbarian" can find his old self during training camp and the preseason this year before assuming he's washed up and making him available for the other 31 teams.