The NFL’s free agency market opens next Wednesday, March 9th. Though there’s no deadline for Dallas to make any of their possible roster cuts, it is typical for those moves to come prior to that date. No name sticks out more as a potential cap casualty than cornerback Brandon Carr.
Turning 30 in May, Carr is owed $13.8 million next season. Few have thought he would ever play for Dallas at that price, meaning they would either release him or perhaps negotiate a pay reduction.
If Carr is Released
Cutting Carr outright would save roughly $6.5 millionon the salary cap. If he’s designated as a June1st cut the savings increase to around $9 million, pushing more dead money into 2017. Having some other options for making cap space, Dallas could elect to take the full hit now.
Though certainly not worth $13.8 million, Carr hasn’t been awful during his time in Dallas. He was signed to play in Rob Ryan’s 3-4 scheme and hasn’t been an ideal fit for Rod Marinelli’s defense. He’s had good moments and bad, but through it all has been a model citizen and locker room leader.
Carr isn’t all that expendable right now, either. Dallas’ cornerback situation is iffy with Orlando Scandrick coming back from a major injury, Morris Claiborne being an unrestricted free agent, and the fact that they’d prefer to play Byron Jones at safety.
Stephen Jones stated last week that Dallas is interested in re-signing Claiborne, which indirectly speaks to their intent to release Carr. There is little reason to think that Carr will be back given this and the salary cap factor.
One reason Dallas can afford to part ways with Carr is having the fourth-overall pick in April’s draft, where many are expecting them to target cornerback Jalen Ramsey out of Florida State. Much like Byron Jones, Ramsey is a gifted athlete capable of playing either corner or safety. If Ramsey becomes a Cowboy then it’s likely either he or Jones will be playing corner in 2016.
If Carr Accepts Reduced Pay
In 2013 the Cowboys gave Doug Free the choice of either reducing his salary or being released. Free took the deal, likely assuming that his new salary would still be better than he’d get on the open market.
We know that Carr was asked to reduce his salary last season and refused. He was clearly smart to do it as Dallas did not release him. That refusal all but assured he would be released this offseason, but there is still the potential for a difference outcome.
As already stated. Dallas has some challenges at cornerback. We may see them hang on to Carr until they’ve confirmed Claiborne’s return. In that case, they will still likely ask Carr to accept a reduced salary. Will he accept this time? Will Dallas once again have to eat it if he refuses?
I would expect the resolution to come this week as Dallas would like to handle all internal business before looking to the open market. If Carr is leaves then they will have a hole to fill, no matter what you thought of Carr’s level of play.
Ultimately, Dallas put Carr is a bad situation. They overpaid him in 2012 as one of the top corners in a weak free agency market. He was likely never going to live up to that salary but then the climb got steeper. They signed him to play in a familiar defense and then switched schemes one year later.
Don’t slam the door behind Brandon Carr if he’s out of Dallas. He gave us his best.