According to multiple reports, the Cowboys have agreed in principle to trade Bobby Carpenter to the St. Louis Rams; in return the Cowboys will receive former first round pick (19th overall in 2005) Alex Barron. Humorously (if not ironically), on his Wikipedia page, the third line of his biography states, “He is known for his false starts.”
Carpenter, in the mind of Cowboys management, is expendable with the drafting of two athletic interior linebacker prospects (Jason Williams in 2009 and Sean Lee in 2010). Carpenter has been a contributor on special teams throughout his career and in nickel packages in 2009. Certainly this is not the productivity expected from a first round draft pick. It has been suggested that Carpenter is simply wrong for the 3-4 defense and would otherwise thrive in a 4-3 defense. The head coach of the St. Louis Rams, Steve Spagnola, has some familiarity with Carpenter as he coached with both the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Barron, has been plagued with committing false starts and holding penalties during his career. He certainly isn’t as infamous as Flozell Adams for the same offenses; however, according to DallasCowboys.com:
Barron had trouble with false start penalties early, committing 22 of the fouls, with five holding calls his first two years when he was credited with 14.5 sacks allowed. His early motion flags have been on the decline since then, down from nine in 2007, to seven in 2008, then five last season. He has been caught holding eight times during that span, including five holdings in 2009, tied for the most in the league. He has allowed 7.5 sacks in each of the last two seasons.
As a tackle prospect, Barron has played in the league at tackle for five years and he will certainly come to the Cowboys as a backup at both right and left tackle. He will provide depth at the position, though consistency may be less than desired. Barron has more on the field experience than all of the backup offensive lineman currently on the Cowboys roster (Pat McQuistan, Robert Brewster, Sam Young, etc.)
It should be noted that the Cowboys signed as a free agent a former “flame-out” tackle in 2007, who they quickly converted to a right guard. Leonard Davis (the aforementioned tackle) has subsequently been named to the pro-bowl three straight years.
It was expected that Carpenter would simply be cut (barring catastrophic injuries at the linebacker position) before the season. With this trade, the Cowboys are adding much needed depth and experience at a critical position along the offensive line at a price that is tantamount to a test drive ($2.62 million).