Will Barber's release help Felix Jones?

Updated: July 26, 2011, 5:37 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

Fantasy football owners have waited for years for tantalizing Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones to get a legitimate opportunity to be a star. As a rookie, Jones averaged nearly 9 yards per rush and electrified in the return game. In 2009 he led the league by averaging 5.9 yards per carry. I'd argue Jones got that chance to be a star in 2010, and looked like a decent player when he ran for 800 yards, or 4.3 yards per rush, but not a special one. Of course, last season, fantasy owners blamed his lack of star performance for the Cowboys' refusal to get rid of Marion Barber.

Well, that doesn't appear to be a problem anymore, as Barber and his hefty salary will be a casualty of the new league salary cap -- or perhaps it would have happened regardless -- leaving Jones as the team's No. 1 running back, at least in theory. Then again, has anything really changed? Wasn't Jones the top running back all last season? He did receive 185 rushes, more than Barber and Tashard Choice combined. He just didn't do that much with the chance.

OK, so I've been burned before. Perhaps you have cursed Felix's name as well. The Cowboys could still go out in the open market and entice a big-name running back to join the show (doubtful). Third-round draft pick DeMarco Murray out of Oklahoma clearly has skills, and a similar build and style to Jones, so maybe he takes over (also doubtful). And let's not forget that Choice remains on the roster and some believe he has a bright future in 2011 as well (doubtful times three).