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Same Face, New Place: Just Where Will Marion Barber Land in 2010?

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 03:  Running back Marion Barber #24 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With the mix of free agency speculation beginning to die down, and the NFL Draft fresh and glowing on the horizon, the most important part of the offseason begins.  The possibility of players being placed on the trading block is in full blast.

At the moment, Donovan McNabb has been the headline grabber.  Possibly leaving Philadelphia and arriving at a more unpredictable type team.  All eyes are on the quarterback position also as we eagerly await not only Donovan's decision, but also Brett Favre's.

Aside from the A-Listers though, there are of course the guys that make the headlines, but aren't often mentioned for more than five minutes on a nightly SportsCenter episode.  Unfortunately for Marion Barber, he falls into this category and despite his prolific football ability which has been on display over the years, there is cause for concern for No. 24 of the Dallas Cowboys, as his NFL career could quite possibly be in jeopardy.

Failing to post an above 1,000 yard season in his career, Marion Barber has always been Dallas' "all down running back," a position which has suited Marion at the best of times.  In and out of drives, and often brought in to give the Cowboys that extra bit of talent to get across the goal line, pretty much sums up Marion's role in the NFL.

But now though, Dallas are reconsidering their options.  Felix Jones and Tashard Choice have begun developing in recent times, and although their stats aren't exactly perfect just yet, they have given Marion more than a run for his money.

So where does Marion possibly land in 2010?  Well, the options are fairly endless, however, I can honestly say it is easy to sum it down to three teams.

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1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fair enough, Tampa Bay probably seems like an unlikely first pick for Marion Barber, but consider it this way.  The Bucs need a run game, and with many draft experts predicting that they sign a running back come April, Marion Barber may be a good option if they fail to get the job done in the draft.

More importantly though, Marion may come cheap to Tampa Bay, especially if interest proves to be dismal in a month's time. 

For those of you sitting at home wondering what happened to Cadillac Williams, he is still part of the Bucs roster, but his impact as of late has barely been visible.  Posting only 823 yards last season, Cadillac has gone from a threatening running back in 2005, to a guy that is appearing to be a mere thorn amongst the bushes in the NFL.

Therefore, Marion is a potential signing for head coach Raheem Morris, and with Marion still being fairly young, Tampa Bay may be tempted to at least review Marion's resume.

2. New York Giants

This pick will stir a lot of emotion among some, particularly as it resembles the old Brett Favre/Green Bay dilemma a few years ago.  As far as the New York Giants though, they are currently disappointed in their running game and are looking to prepare it quickly.

Like Tampa Bay, New York also once had a power running back in Brandon Jacobs that was feared in the league.  After two consecutive above 1,000 yard seasons in 2007 and 2008, Brandon's 2009 stats simply let the entire fan base down.  Almost out of gas and lacking motivation, Brandon seemed to be one of the main reasons for New York's mid-season collapse last year.

With this said, there is time for Brandon to get back on track, but Ahmad Bradshaw is making a name for himself this season and ultimately making it harder for Brandon Jacobs to retain the starting position.

A rival in the NFC East, yes, but Marion Barber to the New York Giants could just shake some things up.  His speed and "never give up" ability is something that the Giants have been lacking recently, and the fact that he creates a ton of yards after the catch also adds a bonus.

Tom Coughlin isn't one to gamble on players, but since the hot seat is heating up, he may consider Marion Barber as an option in the next month or two should he still be available.  Realistically, a signing isn't probable before the draft, but afterwards it may be one of those overnight deals that we wake up to and say "wow."

3. Jacksonville Jaguars

Maurice Jones-Drew is firmly the go-to guy in Jacksonville, however, there is a solid need for a backup in Jacksonville.  Jack Del Rio has been questioned lately due to his inability to post above .500 records for the Jaguars. However, with a few decent signings this offseason, fans may just forgive him in a short amount of time.

When looking at this potential move on paper, a Maurice-plus-Marion duo would be simply entertaining to watch.  Both are strong rushers that also have a lot of speed to their advantage. 

Similar to New Orleans of old, Jacksonville could benefit out of a Maurice Jones-Drew and Marion Barber duo just like New Orleans did with Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas.  Either way you look at this potential signing, it ends up benefiting Jacksonville.  A rush game isn't a priority, but it could use a touch up.  This signing could help the Jaguars immensely.

Conclusion

Out of the above three teams, a match could easily be formed.  However, there is a great demand for running backs at this point in time, so Marion Barber shouldn't be short of interest.  Although speculation is nice, don't be surprised to see Dallas hold onto him still.  He is a valuable player despite his lack of recent yards, and if all things fall into place, Marion may have a new team or be staying with Dallas in the future.

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