As Dallas Cowboys Owner and GM Jerry Jones, Head Coach Jason Garrett, Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan, and the scouting department prepare for the opening of the 2012 NFL Free Agency period on March 13th, everyone has an opinion on what the Cowboys should do. The general consensus is that the Cowboys should be looking for upgrades to the interior of the OL, the secondary, and perhaps the pass-rush. Our fan question this week asks about a specific player, one who Cowboy fans are probably familiar with now.
Those of you who are visiting from the Landry Hat know that we have a tradition of interacting with our readers by picking the best questions you submit and offering it to all of the Landry Hat staff for an opinion. We want to continue that tradition here.
If you have questions for the Dallas Cowboys writers here at SportDFW and the Landry Hat, please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org
"Todd Wilsher, Montreal, Quebec: Should the Cowboys be interested in signing Brandon Carr?"
Brad Austin: Dallas certainly can afford to acquire Brandon Carr if Ole Jer decides he’s a ‘mortgage the farm’, must have player (which he isn’t). Carr should be asking around $10 million a year. His youth, ideal size, and performance history definitely places him in the top two corners available this off-season, which translates into a huge contract…somewhere around 5 years / $50 million range. Remember just last off-season Jerry went after Nnamdi Asomugha who lives in a similar price neighborhood, and Dallas had even less cap space to work with then. The real question is can Dallas afford Carr without severely undermining the effort to fill several other vacated spots created through free agency? And the answer is absolutely not. There are now multiple positions immediately demanding a quality re-sign or upgrade to contend in the NFC East. And this time around Jerry can’t ignore the holes and go with what he’s go, with fingers crossed hoping for a miracle along the way. The natives are far too hungry to be fed more bread and cheese sandwiches labelled ‘best club in town’. Blowing the wad on Carr would cost the team tremendous value when filling the many other team needs. Click here or on Brad’s name to see his recent work at The Landry Hat.
Steven Phillips: Stanford Routt’s signing with Kansas City makes it highly unlikely that the Chiefs resign Brandon Carr. The Chief’s have plenty of cap space, but like Dallas, they have multiple needs in the form of holes on both sides of the ball and their own free agents to resign, so Carr most likely isn’t in their plans for next season. Since Dallas is going to be in need of able and competent corners, and Carr fits that mold, it’s only natural people are making the Carr-to-Dallas connection. In order to sign Carr it would probably take a contract similar to the one Brandon Flowers got from the Chiefs (5 years, $50 million). With the cap space Dallas has, and the amount of needs they have on both sides of the ball, I don’t see them being able to afford this size of financial commitment and still being able to put quality players in all the other open roster spots. It makes more sense for Dallas to use the money they have on lower-tier free agents and draft picks in order to fill all the holes they have. Click here or on Steven’s name to see his recent work at The Landry Hat.
Todd Toombs: Can they afford him? Yes. Jerry Jones has never had an issue finding the money or the cap space if there is a player he really wants. Although he would likely be an upgrade from most of our current cornerbacks, I’m not sure he is a player they want bad enough to do that. The reason Carr is likely to hit free agency is that the Chiefs chose to sign free agent and former Raider Stanford Routt to a 3-year, $20 million contract. The Cowboys were rumored to be interested in Routt as well and chose to pass (at least at the market rate). Although his 2011 salary was a fairly reasonable (by NFL terms) $2.6 million, do the Cowboys go after a guy the Chiefs clearly thought was replaceable when they didn’t even want the guy who replaced him very bad? He would be great if they could get him for the right price – in only his 5th season, he still should have lots of football left in him. But, I’m betting that another team will be willing to pay him more than the Cowboys are willing to offer. Click here or on Todd’s name to see his recent work at The Landry Hat.
C. Joseph Wright: I am not sure what to think. Most people said Carr was better was better than Stanford Routt, but then KC signs Routt and would seem willing to let Carr leave town. If you were trying to decipher Jasonspeak to determine what the Cowboys may do, the one thing that sticks out to me is that Garrett has said several times,
"“The goal of free agency is to be able go into the draft without having a glaring need at any position, so that you can draft the best player available.”"
If the Cowboys have any realistic hope of going into the Draft without gaping holes to fill, they have to sign a CB and an OLB (perhaps Anthony Spencer). The Cowboys could adopt the ‘best player available’ with the current OL, and probably even at safety with Barry Church, but if they don’t sign a CB or OLB, then both those positions will become positions that must be addressed in the first couple rounds. Jason Garrett is too smart to handcuff himself in this Draft. I think the Cowboys will sign a CB in free agency.
Brandon Carr is widely considered in the top 2 or 3 free agent CB’s available. Given that Lardarius Webb of the Baltimore Ravens is only a restricted free agent, some would argue that Carr is the best CB out there. The only thing better than his 49% completion percentage last season is the fact that he is only 26 years old. He should have several of his best seasons ahead of him. It is possible that he could still get better. A 6 foot and 207 lbs, he has the size, if not the height, that you want in a No. 1 CB in today’s NFL.
When I think about it, three things stick out:
1. Terence Newman played worse than anyone could have expected at this time last year.
2. Jerry Jones made a serious effort to sign Nnamdi Asomugha last year before he knew about the decline of T-New. He is already 30 years old.
3. Jason Garrett should refuse to go into this Draft with any huge holes that are absolute musts in the first couple Rounds.
These three facts suggest that the Cowboys will make Brandon Carr a competitive offer. If the Cowboys are lucky enough to land Carr, it wouldn’t be surprising that the Cowboy Nation will be awfully thankful that Nnamdi Asomugha chose to sign with the Dream Team.