Since the end of the Cowboys season, we've been doing a little series in these parts called Should He Stay or Should He Go. We're sure you've been following it, but in case you've had better things to do (not bloody likely!) you can probably guess what the topic is from the title.
There's never been much consideration to using Tashard Choice as part of the series. He's under contract at a very reasonable figure of $550,000, he's flashed talent whenever he's gotten the opportunity and the team has so many other needs that it seems ridiculous to create one at running back. Not everyone shares our opinion.
Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News thinks it is time for Choice to hit the bricks. After months of begging the Cowboys to let Choice play at the expense of Marion Barber's patented sideline-to-sideline jaunts resulting in a one-yard loss, it is time to move on and cash in on Choice's purported value.
"He helped his trade status. Do not see him coming back. He has value. It's time for the Cowboys to cash in on it. I like Tashard and think he should have a bigger role. Just get the feel that Garrett is not enamored with him and would not resist a trade. Remember, Garrett ran the offense this year and rarely used Choice until forced to by injuries."
All of that sounds fine and dandy, except that none of it is true. Running backs are the most fungible of players in the NFL, as evidenced by the fact that James Starks, after running for 101 yards all season, went for 123 to help the Packers win their Wild Card game last Sunday. Starks was a sixth-round pick, so why would a team send even that much in a deal for Choice?
Don't read the wrong thing into this. Choice is a good player and a useful back. Plenty of teams would be happy to use him as part of their backfield. That's the thing, though, he's only part of a backfield. Unless you stumble into an Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson, teams build backfields by committee these days. A shifty guy, a bigger guy, a good pass catcher and so on make up what used to be the job of one person. That makes Choice a dime a dozen in the general scheme of things and it means his trade value isn't nearly as high as Fraley suggests.
If anything, Garrett's unwillingness to use him and willingness to play Barber once he returned from injury is a strike against Choice on the trade market. If he can't beat out a player as mediocre as Barber, why would you give up actual value to acquire him in a trade? And, if Garrett doesn't like him and if the team doesn't like that he can't play special teams, why not just wait until he gets cut before making a play to add him to the team?
It's hard for those who cover or care about a team to see the forest for the trees sometimes. Choice's travails were followed in microscopic detail, making his eventual return to the lineup seem like something larger than it really was. The truth is, there are Choices already on just about every team in the NFL and no one is clamoring to add another one via a trade.
The only value Choice has to the Cowboys is the value he can provide them on the field.
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