The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly asked cornerback Brandon Carr to take a pay cut heading into the 2015. Apparently the Cowboys are having a bit of buyer’s remorse three years after signing Carr to a five-year, $50 million contract. Carr’s massive contract made him one of the highest paid corners in the NFL, and came after four great seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs in which he totaled eight interceptions and well over 200 solo tackles.
Believe it or not, Brandon Carr was one of the better cornerbacks in the league at one point. The former 5th round selection really made a name for himself with the Chiefs. Since joining the Cowboys, Carr has been completely outshined by players such as Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman, and Patrick Peterson; however, that doesn’t mean he has been a complete waste of Jerry Jones’s money: Carr has managed 153 tackles since putting on the Cowboys uniform as well as six interceptions.
Carr’s problem? All six of his interceptions came in 2012 and 2013. Carr completely regressed from his high level of play in 2014—Carr didn’t grab a single interception this past season, and his overall coverage was flat out poor compared to previous years. In fact, Carr was one of the bottom corners in the NFL all but the last three games of the 2014 season. His only memorable play from 2014: giving up “The Catch” to Odell Beckham Jr.
Now comes the Cowboys problem: Tony Romo is making a ton of money, and Dallas still needs to resign both DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant this offseason—and you know they’re going to want a good amount. Dallas seems pretty set on franchise tagging Bryant soon, which would result in a cap hit of somewhere close to $13-15 million for 2015. The Cowboys haven’t said whether they will try and resign Murray or hope to acquire Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, but either way Jones will have to shell out a good $10 million a season for one of these MVP-caliber running backs.
Carr is scheduled to make an $8 million base salary in 2015 which a total cap hit of $12.7 million—in other words, Carr will cost the Cowboys almost as much as Bryant in 2015.
Jerry Jones refused to comment on what the Cowboys will be doing with Carr this offseason, but the Cowboys have reported that they have been meeting with Carr’s agent to discuss a pay cut for the 2015 season.
The Cowboys do not have much leverage if they want to keep Carr: his contract includes $25 million guaranteed, and he is still due a good portion of this money. However, the Cowboys have made it clear that they are not afraid to cut Carr this offseason if he is not willing to cooperate. Sure, he’d get a good bit of money; but he would soon find that the other 31 NFL franchises aren’t willing to pay the massive salary he’d like either.
Carr’s best option would be to find an agreeable compromise and stick with the Cowboys. After a 12-4 finish in 2014 and a playoff run that left them one or two plays after from an NFC Championship Game appearance, the Cowboys will certainly be considered a Super Bowl contender in 2015. If the Cowboys cannot renegotiate Carr’s contract then they will miss out on at least one of their other big name free agents this offseason.
The Cowboys need all the cap room they can manage to obtain this offseason. Carr needs to do what is best for the team (and in the long run, himself) and put the near-future of the franchise first.