Barber's days in Dallas numbered

The rumors surrounding Marion Barber have circulated around the Dallas Cowboys since the end of the 2010 season.

Make no mistake about it, running back Marion Barber is on most observers' lists of players who can feel a lot of warmth coming up through the seat below them.

As part of the three-headed running attack that also included Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, Barber saw his carries go down from 214 in 2009 to 113 last season. More importantly, his production with those carries also went down, as his rushing total went from 932 yards (an average of 4.4 per carry) in 2009 to 374 (3.3 per carry).

As damaging to his chance to remain with the Cowboys as his declining numbers, however, is his contract: Barber still is owed more than $23 million over the next four years. The team's decision to draft Oklahoma's DeMarco Murray in the third round announced that the team wanted more from its running game last season, and unless Murray is an absolute disaster in training camp (or again, barring injury), someone is headed out the door.

It is not believed that anything has been decided yet, but Barber is the oldest (28 years old; Choice is 26 and Jones is 24) and by far the most expensive (Barber is scheduled to make $4.25 million this season, compared to 2011 salaries of just over $1 million for Jones and $555,000 for Choice).

Those factors, coupled with his violent running style that appears to have taken its toll on his productivity, Barber appears to be the early leader in the race to find a new home.

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