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Cowboys show desperation for quality cover men

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Recent posts by Eric Edholm

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By Eric Edholm

The Cowboys signed former Chiefs CB Brandon Carr to a five-year deal worth a reported $50.1 million on Wednesday, helping bolster a defensive backfield that was in disarray last season. Carr's deal slightly outpaced that of Cortland Finnegan, who signed with the Rams, on an average-per-year basis. The Cowboys now have their top three corners set: Carr, Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick.

The PFW Spin

Young cornerbacks are hard to find on the open market, so it became clear that the soon-to-be-26-year-old Carr was going to cash in this year. Throw in the fact that Finnegan hit the $10 million per-season mark the day prior, and league observers were convinced that the talented Carr would top that number.

Although he's not a big playmaker (eight interceptions in four years as a starter), there's a lot to like about him. He's physical, has good short-area quickness, great instincts in man coverage and can help close off one side of the field. His 59 passes defended over the past three seasons have been impressive, and the fact that he has not missed a start to injury in four pro seasons makes him even more attractive. Injuries and ineffectiveness have haunted the CB position for Dallas the past two seasons, with Jenkins, Scandrick and Terence Newman (since cut) all having their ups and downs.

But $10 million per year?

Carr's age makes it appear worth the risk, but this is boffo dollars we are talking about. Especially for a team that recently was docked $10 million in cap space (over the next two years). The Rams overpaid for Finnegan. The Buccaneers overpaid for Eric Wright. And thus, the Cowboys were forced to overpay for Carr.

You can understand when QBs get that kind of money, but it's less sensical when players who seldom touch the ball do. Even young, talented, hardworking ones such as Carr.

We've known about the Cowboys' interest in Carr, which PFW first reported back in February, for some time. Word around NFL circles was that Carr was going to ask for somewhere in the range of $10 million per year, but few thought he would get it; other agents estimated he would fall in the $7M-$8M range. It became obvious that once the massive Finnegan deal went down, the Cowboys were not about to let Carr leave Valley Ranch without a signed contract.

The Cowboys did what they believed they had to do. And there's no doubt their defense — which pressures and plays a lot of man coverage — can do more today than it did yesterday. Coordinator Rob Ryan wants to play press man, and it just so happens that is Carr's best asset. But he can't play inside and isn't as effective in off or zone coverage. The money the Cowboys paid out seems a little steep for a somewhat one-dimensional player, no?

Is it a great signing? Maybe for a few years, yes, but soon that cap figure will press down hard on the Cowboys.

It's the price of doing business in today's marketplace.

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