Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Barron-Carpenter trade done

St. Louis Post-Dispatch It’s a done deal. The St. Louis Rams have traded offensive tackle Alex Barron to the Dallas Cowboys for linebacker Bobby Carpenter. Both players passed physicals today, a requirement for the trade.

In four seasons with the Cowboys, Carpenter started only one regular-season and one playoff game. Despite his size — 6-feet-2 and 250 pounds — Carpenter has a reputation for not being a physical player. But he runs well and was effective last season as a nickel linebacker in passing situations.

Carpenter finished with career highs of 46 tackles and two sacks in ‘09. Although he was a backup inside linebacker in the Cowboys’ 3-4 scheme, he probably is best suited to playing weakside linebacker for a 4-3 team such as the Rams.

The Rams now have an all-Ohio State unit of starting linebackers with Carpenter on the weak side, off-season pickup Na’il Diggs on the strong side, and James Laurinaitis in the middle.

Barron was dangled as trade bait during the offseason by the Rams. Even though he was tendered at a first-round level ($2.621 million) as a restricted free agent, the Rams sought only second-round compensation. In addition, the team was willing to take a third-round draft pick if Barron got an offer from another team.

But the April 15 deadline for restricted free agent offer sheets came and went without an offer for Barron. A week later, when the Rams used their pick at the top of the second round, No. 33 overall, for Indiana University offensive tackle Rodger Saffold, it appeared that Barron’s days with the Rams would be numbered.

Chosen No. 19 overall in the 2005 draft by the Rams out of Florida State, Barron has played in 76 NFL games, including 74 starts. In Dallas, Barron probably will be the Cowboys’ swing tackle at the outset, backing up both the left and right tackle spots.

The Rams plan to start second-year man Jason Smith at left tackle and Saffold on the right to protect No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford at quarterback.