Barber, Canty Receive Tenders; Flozell Update

IRVING, Texas -- Here on Free-Agency Determination Day, the Cowboys are efficiently knocking down personnel issues like they are so many bowling pins.

Left as we approach Thursday's 11 p.m. deadline is management's version of the difficult 7-10 split: Flozell Adams.

Handled at the 3 p.m. deadline were preliminary decisions and relative no-brainers:

· Dallas tendered running back Marion Barber at the highest level

· Dallas placed a first-round tender on defensive end Chris Canty

· Dallas tendered a one-year offer to offensive lineman Joe Berger

· Additionally, Dallas officially announced the signing of Miami linebacker Zach Thomas

· Dallas also announced the release of fullback Oliver Hoyte

· Dallas did not tender an offer to running back Tyson Thompson, making him a free agent.

We're told Barber's case – arguably the Cowboys' most high-profile decision -- did not represent a difficult decision. The arrangement for Barber calls for him to be offered a one-year, $2.56 million deal, keeps the negotiating window open, and allows the Cowboys to retain matching rights on any offer sheet presented to Barber.

The Cowboys could decline matching an offer sheet – but if so, Barber's bidding team would have to sacrifice to the Cowboys No. 1 and No. 3 picks.

"If you're a gambling man,'' agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN, "you'd have to say (MB3 will be with) the Cowboys.''

Obviously. Posturing aside, he Cowboys are in the market to ADD a running back, not to lose one. MB3 will eventually be locked up.

The shuffle elsewhere at running back is less notable, of course. But in Hoyte and Thompson, the Cowboys are giving up on "finds'' who never quite reached their potential. And of course, then there is deposed starter Julius Jones, who is planning his Valley Ranch farewell.

Canty is obviously worth the one-year, $2.017 million deal that comes with his tender. We think it is fair to assume that he'll be a Cowboy; compensation for bidding on him is a first-round pick.

Zach Thomas' official signing represents such a formality that the organization started offering No. 54 jerseys to the public before it's even been determined what number Thomas (and the existing No. 54, Bobby Carpenter) will wear. There are negotiations to be done with franchise-tagged safety Ken Hamlin, and starting at 11:01 p.m., there are other teams' free agents to be chased. But what was all along Job 1 is now the one job left: Attempting to negotiate with Adams and his agent, Jordan Woy, to cut a deal that would preclude his free agency.

Many mainstream-media reports have suggested that both parties are comfortable allowing Adams to being a FA, knowing that he could always re-sign here eventually. But that is in conflict with what – which first broke this week's news of Adams' decision to change agents to the Dallas-based Woy – has been told all week.

It is absolutely the intent of Woy and Stephen Jones – the Cowboys' point man who has worked on the other side of the table of Woy many times over the last 18 years – to find a compromise point by 11 p.m.

That doesn't mean, of course, that it's going to get done but that's what we expect to happen as of mid-afternoon. That is why this whole deal still resembles the difficult 7-10 split.

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