In an effort to get under the $120 million salary cap mandated by the new NFL collective bargaining agreement, the Dallas Cowboys have decided to release right guard Leonard Davis, receiver Roy Williams, running back Marion Barber and kicker Kris Brown. The Cowboys cleared roughly $16.6 million in cap space with these four moves that will become official on Thursday.
After four seasons in Dallas, the 32-year-old Davis will be released with hopes that Montrae Holland and/or Phil Costa can step in and take his place in the starting lineup. The Cowboys already agreed to terms with free agent left tackle Doug Free, so anchoring the offensive line will be complete once first-round draft pick Tyron Smith is signed.
Williams has been treading on thin ice in Dallas ever since he was brought in through a trade with the Detroit Lions. Now that Miles Austin has emerged as an elite NFL receiver and second-year pro Dez Bryant showed flashes of brilliance in 2010, Williams’ services and his hefty contract are no longer needed in Dallas.
Barber was once the workhorse of the Dallas backfield, but injuries and his hard running style slowed him in recent seasons. With the emergence of Felix Jones and Tashard Choice and the Cowboys’ drafting of DeMarco Murray in April, Barber knew his time in Dallas was up.
The release of Kris Brown proves Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is confident in David Buehler to handle the field goal kicking duties alone in 2011. Buehler was very inconsistent in his first season as an NFL field goal kicker, but made enough difficult attempts that Garrett believes he has the potential to become a reliable special teams weapon. However, Buehler will now have to compete with undrafted rookie kicker Dan Bailey, whom the Cowboys signed on Tuesday.