Dallas Cowboys Mailbag: More on Brandon Carr


Dec 15, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Green Bay Packers receiver James Jones (89) tries to make a catch in the first quarter against Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) at AT

Cowboys Mailbag:

"Are you serious about Carr being a bust? Being a die-hard Cowboy fan and not having missed a reg.season game/ playoff game in 25 yrs., Carr is one of the more consistent db’s we have had. Every db will give up plays but overall…I like his play. Remember…if we had “decent” safeties …our cb’s would get help . How come no one talks about our crappy safeties? That is the real problem on defense coupled with lack of pass rush. – Stephen"

Stephen contacted me in response to my “Brandon Carr Has Been a Total Failure” article on Friday. The feedback received by it was split down the middle. Nobody actually made the case he was worth it, but the Pro-Carr people did seem willing to accept his level of play considering how poorly everyone else is playing.

was brought in, as one of the two highest paid defenders on the team, to be a cornerstone and star. He was supposed to handle his business and bring out the best in those around him. That’s what cornerstone players do. Last season Carr rated as spectacularly average (for starting CBs) by most rating systems (but keep in mind all rating systems have major flaws). He was technically in the top half of the league but was still seen as one of the most overpaid CBs. This season he has played far, far worse.

I liked his signing two years ago because he was one of the few CBs who would turn his head to play the ball. Even more impressive was his willingness to gamble on the big play. This season he lost his “guts” and refuses to try for the big play. He’s passive. Even worse he’s not even turning his head missing out on countless opportunities for interceptions. On Sunday he had two easy interceptions. One he just had to turn his head as he ran down the sideline. The other he just needed to time his jump better. These are just the things you expect from your top paid players in the prime of their careers.

The safeties are bad but considering what the Cowboys spent to draft them and to pay them, it’s kind of expected. Barry Church is fine but he’s nothing spectacular. Considering his contract he’s a fairly good value. The rest of the safeties are all young and inexperienced. They stink. It was an obvious problem before the season which the Cowboys chose to ignore. Maybe they thought their highly touted 2nd year man Morris Claiborne, and their prized free agent Brandon Carr would cover up their weakness at safety.

A dominant pass rush is like a “get outta jail free” card. With a great pass-rush any chump at CB can look good. So, while I agree with you whole-heartedly that a pass-rush will help him, I don’t think it gives him a free pass. Again, being paid like he is, he’s expected to perform no matter what, otherwise he’s a waste of money and the Cowboys just should have spent on the pass-rush. Ah-Ha!

Which brings me to my value chart…

Paying big money on a CB is typically a waste of money. We know from history there are no “shut-down” cornerbacks in this league (except Deion Sanders and possibly Richard Sherman and Derrelle Revis). Just last Sunday the unheralded, Jerrett Boykin abused Carr for 6 receptions 83 yrds. Boykin is a nobody (with all due respect) who is making $480,000. That’s about as low as it goes in the NFL. Compare that to Brandon Carr who averages $10M per year.

Like you said, all CBs give up some plays. So the value is rarely found in high priced CBs. It’s a losing proposition. According to my value chart (which I’ll discuss more in the offseason) big money should be spent on the pass-rush. Because they not only have a greater impact but they also make the CBs better.

With all of this said, I would be much more tolerant of Carr if he were making $4M a season compared to $10M. Even at $4M he’s underachieving but that would be a bit more digestible.

Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email Reid at permaximum@hotmail.com. You may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Follow Reid on twitter @ReidDHanson