Just three years removed from inking cornerback Brandon Carr to a lucrative 5-year/$50 million contract, the 7-year veteran’s future in Dallas is in doubt.
Brandon Carr’s disappointing tenure thus far in Dallas raises questions regarding his roster spot next season. His scheduled salary of $8 million in 2015 carries the burden of a $12.7 million dollar cap hit. Currently among all cornerbacks in the NFL, Carr will place the third-largest cap hit on his employer.
Carr’s play certainly doesn’t merit such a high cap value. He recorded zero interceptions and a meager 7 pass breakups in 2014. His signature moment as a Cowboy – an overtime interception of Ben Roethlisberger in December 2012 – seems like a distant memory.
After the initial signing of Carr, plus the draft choice of Mo Claiborne, this Cowboys secondary was destined to be stingy for years to come. Claiborne has been a bust. Carr has been inconsistent. Slot corner Orlando Scandrick has emerged as the star of the Cowboys’ secondary.
One option is to designate Carr as a June 1 cut. This would save the Cowboys $8 million on the 2014 cap, but would hit them with $7.4 million of dead money on the 2015 salary cap.
Cutting Brandon Carr may not be the most attractive option due to the lack of depth in Dallas’ secondary. Restructuring his contract is something that creates a murky future cap situation. Their best option could be an ultimatum: take a pay cut, or get cut.
Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPN Dallas suggests the Cowboys may use this strategy, as they did so successfully with offensive tackle Doug Free.
The Cowboys will certainly look to improve their secondary in the 2015 draft, but keeping Carr while reducing his salary would be in the best interest for the defense. Despite a difficult season for Carr this year, he played well along the stretch of the season.
In a decisive Wildcard game versus the Detroit Lions, Brandon Carr had a bounce-back game in a matchup with Megatron. In week 8 of the 2013 season, Carr shadowed Calvin Johnson most of the day en route to his 14-catch/329 yards/1 touchdown performance in a dramatic Lions victory (this loss still makes me cringe). Carr held him to only 5 catches for 85 yards in the Cowboys playoff victory.
Shadowing Green Bay Packers star wide receiver throughout the Divisional Round playoff game at Lambeau, Carr held Jordy Nelson to just 2 catches for 22 yards in the season finale.
Nevertheless, Carr’s lack of impact on the field during his career with the Cowboys forces Dallas to make a change prior to the 2015 season.
Ultimately, if Brandon Carr doesn’t take a pay cut then he will be cut.