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.
Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?
It feels like ages ago that the Dallas Cowboys spent the 28th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Michigan Defensive End Taco Charlton. Perhaps this is a result of the constant distancing fans have made from this unpopular pick, or the corresponding moves the Cowboys have made at DE since drafting Charlton.
These moves include using the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence after seeing him explode for 14.5 sacks, spending a fourth round pick this year on Kansas' Dorance Armstrong, and seeing Randy Gregory reinstated in time for training camp.
Across the entirety of the Cowboys roster, there will be plenty of "odd men out" that miss the cut down to 53 players. Defensive end remains one of the most cluttered spots on the current 90 man roster however.
Prior to establishing the depth the Cowboys now have up front on defense, they did Taco no favors by starting his career at right defensive end. While Gregory may still be a long way from earning the starting role here, similarly styled players like Armstrong have the edge here over Charlton.
This relegates Charlton to the strong side, where he always projected best out of college. By the time the Cowboys realized this a season ago, they also knew a franchise pass rusher was playing his way into the team's long-term plans.
Lawrence's stellar consistency off the edge reduced Charlton's role in the Cowboys rotation of pass rushers. An ideal spot for the rookie to develop with less pressure on him, Charlton's opportunities to continue playing left end may only be reduced this season.
The first-round pick is capable of kicking inside at defensive tackle, a position the Cowboys could certainly use help at. However, asking Charlton to go through another position shift would only halt the progress that took quite a bit of patience from Dallas to see.
It's far from unheard of for the Cowboys to do this with their young players, but for now Charlton remains a defensive end looking to make his impact. The Cowboys are in much better position now than they were at this time a year ago when it comes to setting expectations for him to do so.
Given everything he showed on tape at Michigan as well as in his pre-draft interviews, Charlton is a player that needs to succeed at the task at hand. When this plan is altered, the 6'6" pass rusher is much less effective -- without even considering any athletic struggles that Charlton has compared to other prototypes at defensive end.
As a unit, the Cowboys defensive line has all the pieces to be very effective this season. Taco Charlton is a piece to this puzzle, a backup left end that must find a way to flourish in this role.
For most former 28th overall picks, doing so would be considered a fall from grace. For the Cowboys, it's simply an example of strong roster building that's forced life to come at Charlton quickly. How he responds with a full season under his belt will make or break the hype this deep Cowboys defensive line has garnered, lead of course by the starter at Charlton's position in DeMarcus Lawrence.
Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp
The Dallas Cowboys patience with Defensive End Randy Gregory has paid off. Suspended for the better part of 2016 and all of 2017, Gregory has officially been reinstated to join the team for their 2018 training camp. The projected starter at RDE, Gregory will report to Oxnard with the rest of the team on July 25th.
From here, it will be all hard work for Gregory to reconnect with Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and get his promising career back on track. The last time Gregory suited up for the Cowboys, he managed to sack Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in a week 17 win. The Cowboys will be expecting much more of this from a player they've supported through multiple violations of the league's heavily criticized substance abuse policy.
Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory's petition for reinstatement was not opposed, according to lawyer Daniel Moskowitz. He's back. "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life. I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of the his family.
Among this support staff for Gregory were a number of teammates that wrote formal letters to the NFL as part of his bid for reinstatement. These last few days of preparation before the Cowboys are together again as a team will surely be uplifted by Gregory's presence.
They say no news is typically good news at this point in the offseason, something the Cowboys have come to realize far too often. Today's news shouldn't be confused with a pleasant surprise however, rather something the Cowboys were committed to in getting another premier pass rusher on the field.
Here is the NFL's official press release on their reinstatement of Randy Gregory:
Cowboys & DeMarcus Lawrence Fail to Reach New Contract
DeMarcus Lawrence will definitely be a Cowboy in 2018, but now the future beyond that remains in question. The Dallas Cowboys and their star defensive end did not agree to a long-term contract by today's deadline for franchise-tagged players.
According to NFL rules, teams had until 4:00 pm EST today to reach contract extensions with free agents who'd been assigned the franchise tag earlier this offseason. Players who did not get new deals will have to play the 2018 season on their one-year franchise tenders.
DeMarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys were unable to work out a long-term contract by today's deadline. Lawrence will play the 2018 season under a one-year franchise tag that will pay him $17.1 million
This does not mean Lawrence will be a free agent in 2019. The two parties can still discuss the contract in the months to come, but the deal cannot be made until after the end of the regular season.
Dallas also has the option of giving DeMarcus a second franchise tag next year. However, that would come at a considerably higher price for a second-straight season.
This year, Lawrence will still make plenty with one of the highest cap hits of any DE in the league. He earned the franchise tag last with 14.5 sacks in a breakout season.
Today's news may not really be a big deal in the long run. As long as Tank wants to stay in Dallas after this, the two sides now have over five months to keep talking and will hopefully agree on a new deal for 2019 and beyond.
There is risk on both sides, of course.
Lawrence's leverage could be less if his productions drops or he gets injured. On the other hand, his position could be even stronger with a second-straight year of strong play.
Now everyone, from the team to player to fans, is in wait-and-see mode until the end of the season.
Star Blog2 weeks ago
4 Decisions That Could Shape Cowboys 2018 Season
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Ex-Giants Coach Ben McAdoo Talks Trash About Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys4 days ago
Noah Brown Takes to Twitter to Call Out ESPN
Star Blog1 week ago
Would Trading La’el Collins for Earl Thomas Make Sense?
Star Blog1 week ago
True or False: Sifting Through the Cowboys Trade Rumors
Dallas Cowboys4 days ago
What’s Left for Cowboys to Offer in Deal for Earl Thomas?
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Kris Richard Allows Cowboys to be Patient on Earl Thomas
Star Blog2 weeks ago
Who Replaces Dez Bryant as Cowboys Red Zone Threat?