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Monday, July 25, 2011
Potential cuts for Cowboys

By Calvin Watkins

When this entire labor mess ends today, the Cowboys have to get back to the business of fixing their roster.

The team is projected to be about $18 million over a $120 million salary cap. The Cowboys, like all teams, will get a $3 million credit. To get under the salary cap for 2011, releasing several players is a possibility.

We look at three main players who might get let go and what the impact will be.

Marion Barber. The Cowboys can save $4.7 million if he's a June 1 cut, which is expected. He's underachieved since he was made the full-time starter in 2008. Barber hasn't rushed for a 1,000 yards in any of his seasons with the team. While a punishing runner and closer, he's not the same back due to his health. With Barber gone, it means Felix Jones moves into the starting role with Tashard Choice and rookie DeMarco Murray as the backups.

Marc Colombo. The Cowboys have 15 days into the league year to give the starting right tackle a $2.6 million option bonus. With the team drafting Tyron Smith in the first round, it appears Colombo's days with the team are over. However, Colombo has said he's willing to fight for his job and if the team wants to keep him he could be the swing tackle or maintain his starting position. Colombo saves the Cowboys $2.4 million if he's cut. Colombo has also dealt with health issues; he missed the 2010 opener due to minor knee surgery.

Roy Williams. If Williams, who has underachieved with the Cowboys, is released, he's a $12.9 million cap hit, but if he's a June 1 cut, Williams saves the Cowboys $5 million. The problem with sending Williams home is who replaces him. It could be Dez Bryant, but as a rookie, he couldn't do it last year. His talent projects that he will be better than Williams and most likely Miles Austin. Williams, however, is that veteran receiver the team could use at the No. 3 spot. Even there, he would be challenged by the emerging Kevin Ogletree.