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Sunday, April 7, 2013
Cowboys weekend mailbag: Sign Ronde Barber?

By Calvin Watkins

We're down to two for the national championship in college basketball and while we think about who wins between Michigan and Louisville, let's review our weekend mailbag.

Enjoy.

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Q: To: Mr. Cool Cat Watkins, with Doug Free being worth $7 million dollars is there any tackles on the market right now that we could sign and instantly upgrade the line? Eric Winston or Branden Albert are available or is that not a possibility? If not a tackle who should we sign if any? Long time reader first time writer. Brandon Fuller (Malibu, Calif.)

A: Based on what Free did last season, no he's not worth his contract and he most likely will get offered a paycut. If he refuses, then expect the Cowboys to move on. As much as they like Free he struggled last season under offensive coordinator Bill Callahan. The team wants Free to become more aggressive, a player who attacks defenders and too many times he failed to do that. He almost lost his starting job in 2012 and did play well on the backend of the year. When you evaluate his entire season, you begin to wonder if he's worth coming back. Albert was franchised, so it will cost you too much to give up to get him back from a financial and draft pick standpoint. Winston is a nice pickup, however, why get a veteran player. Stick with the draft and get a younger player to build with Tyron Smith on the other side.

Q: Calvin, is it "Set-in-Stone", that Anthony Spencer will be the starting defensive end? Maybe they can get a quality 4-3 DE in free agency or the draft. This will keep Spencer at OLB. Derrick (New Port Richey, Fla.)

A: Spencer is going to be the starting defensive end because he's more effective at that spot than playing outside linebacker in a 4-3. Monte Kiffin's defensive line warrants pass rushers at all four spots and this is where Spencer comes in. Spencer played a 4-3 defensive end in college and making the move back to it isn't a problem.

Q: I see that Ronde Barber is a free agent. What is the likelihood that we could nab him, before or after the draft? I have seen Ronde excel in that Tampa 2 and be a big ballhawk. He could help out with teaching the scheme to other players as well as produce turnovers in a limited role. I'm not sold on Kenny Vaccaro should Dallas draft him. So why not bolster the safety spot with a proven guy that can still produce and bring leadership and championship experience to a secondary that could clearly use it while we figure out what we have in Matt Johnson and Barry Church? This provided he comes cheap of course. Clayton Hice (Oklahoma City)

A: Clayton, you answered your own questions here: "provided he comes cheap of course." Barber, a solid player on the backside of his career, isn't coming on the cheap. It's ok if the Cowboys keep younger players at certain positions, especially safety. What has veteran players gotten them over the years? I do like what Gerald Sensabaugh provided them at times, but he didn't make enough plays on the ball. The Cowboys have Johnson, who displayed playmaking skills in college. So why not give him an opportunity?