Cowboys Carr: The Coming Financial Shock

IRVING - Brandon Carr promised CowboysHQ last offseason that he and his Cowboys would 'shock the world.' They made good on that promise, but now, the salary cap being what it is, it's Carr's world that's about to be shocked.

Carr's World

Assorted outlets and "experts" have attempted to frame Brandon Carr's 2014 season with the Dallas Cowboys, the highest compliment coming from ESPNDallas, which wrote that Carr "didn't nearly play as poorly during the final month of the season and the playoff as most folks think."

That's a mangled sentence in more ways than one, most importantly because for the purpose of this conversation, it's about whether Carr played like a $12.7-million cornerback.

He did not. Most no one can.

Was he right to petition for more man defense, which freed him to use a physical style in the postseason whole lining up against the likes of Calvin Johnson and Jordy Nelson? Yes. Is he an upbeat and responsible presence on this club, handling even the summer passing of his mother with dignity and class? Yes.

Does any of that matter going forward as Dallas prepares to tear up his contract and maybe part ways with the man who in 2012 signed a monster five-year, $50-million deal to leave Kansas City for the Cowboys?

Nope. And Carr understands this.

“Why wouldn’t you want to be back with a special group like this?” Carr said, well-aware that for the group to remain intact his contract cannot. “There was so much, a lot of adversity, nobody expected too much of you. We forged together and fought through it all and found a way to come out and be successful. I love these guys, man."

As it stands presently, he's supposed to count $12.7 million against the cap with a salary of $8 million. The most drastic and dramatic way to handle this: designate Carr as a post-June 1 release. Doing so actually carves out $8 mil of room for 2015 (with $7.5 mil of dead money coming back on Dallas' 2016 cap).

“Carr played well this year and I’m not as critical of Carr as others,” owner Jerry Jones said. “But that’s a lot of money. One thing that we've just got to do is we’ve got to make sure that every way we can we get the value for the money."

What do the Cowboys think represents "value" at corner? All you have to do is look at the roster, where the club has complete faith in Orlando Scandrick (averaging $3 mil), has last-gasp hope in Mo Claiborne (finishing his rookie deal), has an insurance policy in Sterling Moore ($600,000) and sees promise in Tyler Patmon ($510,000).

The "right number" for Carr is however little he will take. The media has speculated here about something "Doug Free-like" but Free sliced his money in half, from $7 mil to $3.5 mil. Cutting Carr's cap hit in half will not do. Nor will a "restructuring," as has been suggested by at least one local media outlet that is not grasping how this works. ... because what we're really talking about it either an elimination of his existing contract and a start-over ... or just an elimination.

“We’re going to cross that bridge when we get there,” Carr said ... But the "bridge" is already being crossed inside the offices of Valley Ranch.

Our forecast is that there won't be a great market demand for Carr, especially if Dallas sits on this situation until near that June 1 date. (Free's deal was torn up and re-done in mid-May of 2013.) The average salary for an NFL cornerback is around $1.7 million. Getting Carr's number nearer that figure would be a win for the Cowboys ... but wouldn't be "Free-like'' in that is far greater than half Carr's present scheduled hit and income.

"We’ll maximize our dollar," Jones said.


That's a polite way of indicating who is now in charge of a world that is about to change for Brandon Carr.

Fish's Cowboys Cap Primer

Want more info on how it all fits? Cowboys Premium Subscribers get it first! "Fish's Cowboys Cap Primer'' makes it clear the Cowboys can do ANYTHING they want - even carve out $49 million worth of room. Dez. DeMarco. Suh. Anybody. Anything.

"Yes, yes we can (be players in free agency),'' Jerry confirmed. "“We’re in a lot better shape under the cap than we’ve been at any time over the last two or three years. That’s good.”

That doesn't mean they will spend; it means they can, and if you want an education on it all, dig in to this link. "Fish's Cowboys Cap Primer'' ... already duplicated and "borrowed-from,'' but we do it on Boards without "slideshows'' and with updated contributions from you, the reader, and with the guidance of the Cowboys front office itself.

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