Barber is working out in Miami at the request of his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and not the team's Valley Ranch complex.
He is not expected to be in Dallas for the start of organized team activities next week.
The Cowboys know his work ethic and know Barber, when he arrives, will show up in shape. But they would like him with the team as soon as possible as he assimilates to a new role as the team's starting running back.
The Cowboys have tendered him a one-year restricted free agent offer of $2.56 million but also offered Barber a deal similar to the pact Michael Turner signed as a free agent with the Falcons. That contract was in the $30 million range, and could be considered market value for a soon-to-be starting running back. But Barber has more NFL seasoning. As such, he's looking for a deal in excess of $40 million.
Owner Jerry Jones is eager to sign Barber to an extension, but knows he has the luxury of the one-year tender to fall back on if a compromise between the Cowboys' offer and Barber's demands can't be reached.
"I just want us to be able to get something done because he's a big part of our future," Jones said of Barber. "But I need to get it done in a way that is good for our team. That's not a negotiating ploy, that's just a fact. As far as being disappointed in his preparation, I don't see that this will have a negative impact, with him not being here."
Worth noting, another Cowboys restricted free agent, defensive end Chris Canty, has not signed his tender, but is working out with the team in the interim.
The same can't be said of safety Ken Hamlin, who had the franchise tag placed on him in March. Hamlin, too, is looking for a long-term deal and has stayed away from the team's offseason program. He isn't expected to be around for the OTA sessions next week.
"I would like them to be here," Jones said. "But right now, we're working on a few things. I think when the time comes, they'll be ready to go."
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS
--Despite widespread reports, Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson remain a couple -- at least that is the case according to two of Romo's Cowboys' teammates.
--The Cowboys will report to training camp in Oxnard, Calif., on July 24. They are tentatively scheduled to break camp on Aug. 12 and head to Denver, where they'll practice with the Broncos on Wednesday and Thursday that week and then alone on Friday before a preseason game on Saturday, Aug. 16.
--The Cowboys needed more help on the offensive line in terms of numbers and got it on Wednesday, signing three-year veteran tackle Cory Lekkerkerker and first-year guard Adam Stenavich.
Lekkerkerker spent his first two seasons with the San Diego Chargers and the 2007 season with the Miami Dolphins. He originally signed with the Chargers as a rookie free agent following the 2005 draft, spending the first eight weeks of the season on the practice squad and the second half on the 53-man roster without ever playing. He then played in 15 games with the Chargers in 2006 season and then 11 games with Miami this past season, starting two.
Stenavich spent the 2006 season on the Green Bay Packers' practice squad. He was allocated to NFL Europe in the spring of 2007 and played with the Amsterdam Admirals. Stenavich was released prior to the start of the 2007 season and spent the season out of football. He originally signed with the Carolina Panthers following the 2006 draft as a rookie free agent, was released by the Panthers after training camp and immediately signed with the Packers.
--Because the Cowboys are in the final year at Texas Stadium there will be no new inductees into the ring of honor in 2008.
"We've got our thoughts and timing as we go through the year, as we play each of the games," owner Jerry Jones said. "We want to give a lot of sensitivity. We didn't think it would be the right timing for the Ring of Honor, for a player going into the Ring of Honor or for what we're doing in leaving Texas Stadium."
--OTA practices will begin next Tuesday for the Cowboys. The team conducts three per week for four weeks leading up to the June 17-19 veteran minicamp.
--The Cowboys have no interest in free agent receivers Koren Robinson or Chris Henry. According to vice president Stephen Jones, the Cowboys will go with what they have at receiver unless they can acquire a big-time talent such as Roy Williams, Anquan Boldin or Chad Johnson.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I do want him to come in and be a part of the team activities and off-season conditioning. I understand why he can't. ... He does know what he needs to be doing to prepare himself strength-wise." -- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on suspended cornerback Pacman Jones being allowed to work out with the team.
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